Yellow-crested Tanager is the southwestern representative of the very widespread tanager genus Tachyphonus. It is found in southwestern Amazonian Brazil, adjacent eastern Peru, and northwestern Bolivia, and is generally a fairly common inhabitant of the canopy and subcanopy of taller forest in this region. Males are very distinctive, being largely black above, except for the yellow crown and rump patches, while the throat is also yellow, separated from the rest of the brighter, deeper, and tawnier underparts by a narrow black band, which also extends as a ragged line over the flanks. Like other species of Tachyphonus, females are far less "obvious", making it fortunate for identification purposes that pairs usually keep close together; females are mainly olive above, with a whitish throat, and ochraceous yellow underparts (deepest on the ventral region).
The scientific name, Tachyphonus rufiventer, derives from Greek and Latin. Tachyphonus is from the Greek words takhus, meaning fast, and phone, meaning sound or voice, thus translates as "fast speaking"(Jobling 2010). The specific epithet rufiventer derives from the Latin words rufus, meaning ruddy or rufous, and venter or ventris, meaning belly (Jobling 2010). Thus, the scientific name translates as the "fast-speaking rufous-belly". In Spanish the common name of this species is Tangara Crestiamarilla (Hilty 2011, de Juana et al. 2012) and in Portuguese it is Tem-Tem-de-Crista-Amarela (CBRO 2010). Including English, the common names refer to the conspicuous yellow crown of males.