Family Typical Antbirds (Thamnophilidae)

Least Concern

Black-backed Antshrike (Thamnophilus melanonotus)


French: Batara à dos noir German: Schwarzweiß-Ameisenwürger Spanish: Batará dorsinegro

Thamnophilus melanonotus

P. L. Sclater

, 1855,

Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia


This species and T. melanothorax were historically placed in genus Sakesphorus, but molecular analysis#R found that both belong in Thamnophilus. See also T. insignis. Monotypic.


Caribbean slope in N Colombia (S & W to N Bolívar) and NW Venezuela (E to Miranda); also NE Colombia (Zulia Valley, Norte de Santander) and adjacent W Venezuela (Cordillera de Mérida#R).

Descriptive notes

15–16 cm. Male is black to blackish-brown, except for white edges of scapulars, white interscapular patch, light grey posterior upperparts, wing-coverts broadly tipped... read more


Four vocalization types recorded. A descending “aawr”, repeated at regular intervals,... read more


Understorey and mid-storey of deciduous forest, to 500 m; occasionally to 1300 m, in Venezuela.... read more

Food and feeding

Little known. Feeds primarily on various insects, including true bugs (Hemiptera, Homoptera: Cicadidae), orthopterans and lepidopteran... read more


Little known. Mar–Jul in N Colombia. Nest in Colombia an open, unlined cup, suspended by rim to thorny bush; contained 2 eggs, white... read more


Presumed resident.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Restricted-range species: present in Caribbean Colombia and Venezuela EBA. In Venezuela, occurs in Henri Pittier National Park and also at... read more

Recommended citation

Zimmer, K. & Isler, M.L. (2020). Black-backed Antshrike (Thamnophilus melanonotus). 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 February 2020).