The Hooded Tanager is distributed from the Caribbean coast of Colombia to northern Argentina though it is missing from the north-western part of the Amazon Basin.
It is found in light woodland, gallery forest and plantations while in the Amazon Basin it is seen in várzea woodland and forest borders.
It has yellow legs and a yellow iris. The male's head and sides of the neck are black giving the hooded appearance while the lores are white. Remaining upperparts are blue-grey while underparts are white.