The Short-billed Canastero is a relatively dull canastero with an unusual distribution. It is a lowland canastero, most species in the genus are associated with the Andes. It is found largely in Argentina throughout the country north of Patagonia, and extending north to the chaco of Paraguay, and east to western Uruguay. It appears to be related to the group that includes the Creamy-breasted Canastero (Asthenes dorbignyi). The Short-billed Canastero is relatively short-billed as its name states but also stocky billed and curiously the bill has a blue-grey coloration unlike other canasteros. The body is largely pale brown, with a grey wash on the face, a rusty throat patch, and dark tail with rufous sides. Structurally it is a short-tailed canastero. Its preferred habitat is scrubby dry forest, particularly where there are trees with spines (thorn forest). It ranges from the Monte Desert, to the Chaco, to the Espinal habitat provinces, but it is absent from the moist Pampas Grassland. Curiously in its overall plumage and in particular the bill shape and color this canastero can remind one of the entirely unrelated Little Thornbird (Phacellodomus sibilatrix), a species with which it is broadly sympatric.