This yellow-finch has a curiously disjunct distribution across upland areas of eastern and northern South America entirely east of the Andes. It is most widespread in the Brazilian interior, roughly coincident with the expanse of the Cerrado biome. In some respects it is a poorly named bird for the white in the tail is often difficult to see, except from below. Instead, identification of this bird from the sympatric Grassland Yellow-Finch (Sicalis luteola) should focus on the plain olive-colored face and citrine forecrown of males, and the streaked underparts on a yellow background in females. Stripe-tailed Yellow-Finch is generally quite common, but often local, and sometimes forms mixed-species flocks with Grassland Yellow-Finch, especially in the non-breeding season.