Family Typical Antbirds (Thamnophilidae)

Least Concern

Dusky Antbird (Cercomacroides tyrannina)


French: Grisin sombre German: Grauameisenfänger Spanish: Hormiguero tirano

Pyriglena tyrannina

P. L. Sclater

, 1855,

“Bogotá” = probably nearby Cundinamarca, Colombia


Until recently treated as conspecific with C. laeta, and also included C. parkeri as a highland population. Recent comprehensive molecular study#R indicates it is closest to C. serva. At least some of plumage differences on which races were based appear due to clinal variation; analysis of other parameters required in order to define geographical populations more accurately, so ranges listed are provisional. Vocal differences between populations of Middle America plus Magdalena Valley (Colombia) and other taxa/populations in South America merit investigation#R. Proposed race rufiventris (E Panama) included in nominate, based on study of plumage variation. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. t. crepera (Bangs, 1901) – SE Mexico (SE Veracruz, NE Oaxaca and N Chiapas E to S Quintana Roo), Belize, Guatemala and Honduras (Caribbean slope) S to W Panama (W & C Chiriquí, Bocas del Toro, NW Veraguas).
  • C. t. tyrannina (P. L. Sclater, 1855) – C & E Panama (E from E Chiriquí, W Colón and NE Coclé), Colombia (Pacific slope, lower Cauca and Magdalena Valleys, and E of Andes S to R Caquetá), W Ecuador (S to S Guayas, one record in El Oro), S Venezuela (NW Bolívar, Amazonas) and extreme NW Brazil (N Amazonas W of lower R Negro, S to R Japurá).
  • C. t. vicina (Todd, 1927) – NW Venezuela (S Zulia S to Táchira, W Andes N to Mérida and E Andes N to R Guanaré, Portuguesa) and E slope of Andes in N Colombia (Casanare).
  • C. t. saturatior (C. Chubb, 1918) – Venezuela (S & E Bolívar), the Guianas and NE Amazonian Brazil (Roraima and from E of lower R Negro E to Amapá).
  • Descriptive notes

    13·5–14·5 cm; 15–19 g. Male nominate race is slate-coloured above, wings and tail somewhat darker, interscapular patch white, wing-coverts and outer rectrices... read more


    Male loudsong typically a series of relatively short notes at even pitch and pace except for lower-... read more


    Thick understorey of lowland and foothill evergreen forest at edges of clearings, stream edges,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds on variety of insects, including beetles (Coleoptera), lepidopteran larvae, wasps (Hymenoptera), hemipterans, homopterans,... read more


    Feb–Oct in Costa Rica and Panama and Aug–Nov in Amazonian Brazil; additional nest and egg descriptions from Nicaragua and... read more


    None recorded; presumed resident throughout range.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common to common throughout its extensive range. Regions inhabited by this species encompass numerous protected parks and reserves. Its... read more

    Recommended citation

    Zimmer, K., Isler, M.L. & Christie, D.A. (2020). Dusky Antbird (Cercomacroides tyrannina). 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 20 February 2020).