The Gray-crowned Yellowthroat ranges over both slopes of Middle America, from northern Mexico south as far as southwest Panama. Over this extensive range as many as seven subspecies have been described, although not all of these are currently afforded general recognition. Most of these taxa possess scarcely any black on the face (this usually being restricted to the lores and immediately behind the eyes), while as its name suggests, the crown (and sometimes the nape) are extensively washed with gray. The rather stout bill is also rather unusual amongst members of this genus. Gray-crowned Yellowthroats are generally reasonably common inhabitants of open grassy habitats with some shrubs, semi-arid scrub and savannas, and even sugar-can fields. The species is principally found in the lowlands, but does range up to at least 2000 m.