This sierra-finch is well named as it is gray and lacks any other color. The male is gray with a slightly blue tone, and is almost unicolored, as dark below as it is above with a black bill, blackish legs and gray wings and tail. Females vary geographically, some are gray and slightly more streaked than the male, while others are brownish and streaked, with distinctly paler underparts. From Colombia south to northernmost Peru the females are brown and heavily streaked; in much of Peru they are male-like but paler than the males; then in Chile and Argentina the females are once again brownish although not nearly as dark and coarsely streaked as the northern group. The northern birds have a rasping and unpleasant descending buzz of a song, while in Chile and Argentina songs are soft and sweet. Likely there is more than one species involved here, but more research is necessary. Plumbeous Sierra-Finches are birds of high elevation in most of their range, seldom found below 3000m. Farther south in Patagonia the species is still restricted to the Andes, but there it may be found as low as 500m in elevation. This sierra-finch is fond of open grassy flatlands or bogs adjacent to rocky slopes.