Monotypic; there are no described subspecies of White-browed Conebill. Populations from central Peru (and presumably from northern Peru as well) differ, however, by "slightly blacker crown, bluer back, and buff-tinged supercilium" (Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990)
Described as Conirostrum ferrugineiventre by Sclater 1856, with a type locality of Bolivia.
Conirostrum formerly was included in the family Coerebidae (e.g., Hellmayr 1935; this family no longer is recognized) or in Parulidae (Lowery and Monroe 1968). Phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequence data, from mitochondrial genes, indicates however that Conirostrum is embedded within Thraupidae (tanagers and allies) (Burns et al. 2002, 2003). The sister genus to Conirostrum perhaps is Oreomanes (Burns et al. 2002), although other investigations indicate that Oreomanes may be embedded within Conirostrum (Lovette and Bermingham 2002, Burns et al. 2003). A hybrid has been reported between Conirostrum ferrugineiventre and Oreomanes fraseri (Giant Conebill) Schulenberg 1985).
Phylogenetic relationships within Conirostrum have not been resolved.