Adult palm tanagers are 19 cm (7.5 in) long and weigh 36 g (1.3 oz). They are grey to dull olive-green. The flight feathers are blackish, and the long tail is blackish edged with green. A yellow wingbar shows in flight. Sexes are similar, although females may be somewhat paler.
It occurs in semi-open areas including cultivation and gardens. The bulky cup nest is built in a tree, usually a palm, or under the eaves of a house, and the female incubates three, sometimes two, brown-blotched cream eggs for 14 days, with another 17 days to fledging.