Described as Basileuterus conspicillatus (Salvin and Godman 1880); type locality San José, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia.
Parulidae is a bird family whose taxonomy and nomenclature has been greatly revised in recent years (Lovette and Bermingham 2001, 2002; Lovette et al. 2010). The most recent resolved phylogeny, based on multiple nuclear and mitochondrial genes, renamed various genera and redefined the species relationships within this family (Lovette et al. 2010). White-lored Warbler previously was classified in the genus Basileuterus, which was divided by Lovette et al. (2010) into Basileuterus (8 species) and Myiothlypis (16 species). Some authors (e.g. Hilty and Brown 1986) had suggested that conspicillata was closely related to, or even conspecific with, Myiothlypis coronata (Russet-crowned Warber). Lovette et al. (2010), however, identified the sister species of White-lored Warbler as Myiothlypis cinereicollis (Gray-throated Warbler), which is endemic to northeastern Colombia and northwestern Venezuela.