Family Typical Antbirds (Thamnophilidae)

Least Concern

Foothill Antwren (Myrmotherula spodionota)


French: Myrmidon des contreforts German: Westlicher Graubrust-Ameisenschlüpfer Spanish: Hormiguerito Submontano
Other common names: Ecuadorian Antwren

Myrmotherula spodionota

P. L. Sclater and Salvin

, 1880,

Sarayacu, Pastaza, Ecuador


Forms a superspecies with M. haematonota, which formerly considered conspecific, and with M. fjeldsaai. Genetic, morphological and behavioural analyses indicate that all three are part of a monophyletic group that also includes M. gutturalis, M. fulviventris, M. leucophthalma, M. ornata and M. erythrura (the “stipple-throated antwren assemblage”), and which may not be closely related to other species placed in the genus. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. s. spodionota P. L. Sclater & Salvin, 1880 – E Andean slope from S Colombia (Cauca, Caquetá) S to N Peru (Amazonas N of R Marañón).
  • M. s. sororia Berlepsch & Stolzmann, 1894 – E slope in Peru S of R Marañón (San Martín S to Madre de Dios).
  • Descriptive notes

    10·5–11 cm; 9–10·5 g. Male has crown and upperparts dark grey, tinged brown, rump dark reddish yellow-brown; wing-coverts blackish-brown, greater coverts tipped... read more


    Loudsong a trill of abrupt, sibilant notes first ascending sharply and then gradually dropping in... read more


    Understorey of foothill and montane evergreen forest, from 500 m (higher in some regions) to 1600 m.

    Food and feeding

    Feeds on variety of insects, probably also spiders; in Ecuador, observed to take small cockroaches (Blattidae), lepidopteran larvae, adult... read more


    Almost nothing known. Family groups, and a food-begging juvenile with adults, recorded in late Mar in E Ecuador.


    Presumed resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon to fairly common throughout its range. Although it occurs only in a narrow elevational belt, this does include some protected areas, e.g.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Zimmer, K. & Isler, M.L. (2017). Foothill Antwren (Myrmotherula spodionota). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 26 March 2017).