This ground tyrant is well named for its upperparts are pale ashy gray, sometimes with a bluish tone. The wings are browner and contrast noticeably with the gray upperparts. The Cinereous Ground-Tyrant lacks a crown patch so it always has a plain gray cap. This feature it shares with the Plain-capped (M. alpinus) and Taczanowski’s (M. griseus) ground-tyrants, and the three have been at times considered conspecific. The genetic data, as well as morphology clarify that three species are involved. The Cinereous Ground-Tyrant is migratory in the southern part of its range, and apparently resident in the north. Birds breeding in Central Chile prefer rather high elevation alpine habitats (2700 m and up) and their preferred microhabitat is rocky slopes including talus slopes and rock falls. They do not require or have any preference for bushes in their habitat. This is not a common ground-tyrant, it is always outnumbered by other species it is found with. One aspect that is tricky is that juvenile Rufous-naped Ground-Tyrants (M. rufivertex) lack the crown patch and can appear very similar to the Cinereous, but note that he Red-naped has a longer and drooped bill.