Bearded Helmetcrests have long, pointed crests and black and white beards with a blue, green, or orange central stripe. All subspecies have a dark triangular patch on each side of the face. They live in the páramo and move to lower elevations during the dry season. These large hummingbirds typically forage at low bushes by themselves, but during the dry season, birds are more often seen together. During the wet season, males sing continuously from shrubs for minutes on end and year-round, birds frequently perch on boulders. When foraging, individuals cling onto flowers or sometimes even walk on the ground and lurch for insects.