This species ranges from Mexico to the mountains of W Colombia. All forms of this brush-finch have a white stripe down the midline of the crown from the forehead to the nape, it widens somewhat on the nape. Above the White-naped Brush-Finch is blackish-grey including blackish sides to the head. Below they are variable, always yellow on the throat with the rest of the underparts grayish-white while in some forms the yellow extends throughout the underparts. Some have separated the more southern yellow-throated forms as the “Yellow-throated Brush-Finch” species. White-naped Brush-finches are found in subtropical to temperate elevations, from 1200 to 3100 m in elevation. They forage on the ground, often in family groups. In Central America they may take moist forests with thick undergrowth, in Mexico and Guatemala they may be found in drier Pine-Oak associations, sometimes higher up in cypress forest. One study in Oaxaca, Mexico described that its population density is very low.