One of two species currently treated within the genus Conothraupis, although there are doubts that either is a true member of the Thraupidae, the Black-and-white Tanager is in many respects a highly unusual bird. It has been suggested to be partially ‘nomadic’ and it appears to breed solely in southwest Ecuador to northwest Peru, where the species occurs in bushy, herbaceous vegetation and second growth, and to migrate across the Andes to spend the non-breeding season in Amazonia, where the Black-and-white Tanager has been recorded, very locally, in southwest Brazil, northern Bolivia, and mainly in eastern Peru. There is also a single record from southeast Colombia. On the breeding grounds, the Black-and-white Tanager only seems numerous immediately following rains, and is sometimes encountered in large monospecific flocks, which show some similarity in their behavior to Sporophila seedeaters. The species’ vocalizations also appear to be atypical for a Thraupidae, but are more reminiscent of some icterids, especially to the Solitary Black Cacique (Cacicus solitarius).