Slaty Antwrens

The Slaty Antwren, Myrmotherula schisticolor, belongs to the antbird family.

Distribution / Range

The Slaty Antwrens are endemic to the tropical Central and South America from southern Mexico to western Ecuador and eastern Peru.

They are commonly found in the understory of wet forest and in adjacent tall second growth in foothills typically from 700 m to 1700 m altitude. However, locally, they can be found down to sea level or up to 2000 m.

Nesting / Breeding

The female Slaty Antwren lays, on average, two red-brown spotted white eggs in a deep pouch nest constructed from plant fibers. The nest is suspended from the fork of a thin twig less than 2 m up.

Both the male and female incubate the eggs and raise the chicks.


The Slaty Antwren averages 10 cm (~4 inches) in length and weighs 9.5 g (0.34 oz).

The adult male is mainly dark slate with a black throat and breast, black wings with white spots, and a concealed white shoulder patch. The white on the wings is less extensive than in related species.

The adult female is olive-brown above and buff-brown below, paler on the throat.

Immature males are darker, duller and greyer than the adult female.

Calls / Vocalizations

Its call is described as a thin cheeur call. Its occasional is a soft t’week t’week t’week t’week weet weet weet weet .

Diet / Feeding

The Slaty Antwren is normally found as pairs, but often join mixed-species feeding flocks that may include woodcreepers, Red-crowned Ant-Tanagers, ovenbirds and Basileuterus warblers.

They usually feed on insects and spiders picked up from the foliage.

Photo of author

Team Beauty of Birds's team of experts includes veterinarians, biologists, environmentalists and active bird watchers. All put together, we have over half a century of experience in the birding space.

You can meet our team here.