Family Typical Antbirds (Thamnophilidae)

Least Concern

Grey Antwren (Myrmotherula menetriesii)


French: Myrmidon gris German: Grauameisenschlüpfer Spanish: Hormiguerito gris

Myrmothera Menetriesii


, 1837,

Yuracares, Bolivia


Possibly close to M. longipennis; the two are often included in the “grey antwren assemblage” (see M. axillaris). Pending further study, geographical ranges of races follow those given by previous authors, but some races may not be diagnosable. On basis of plumage, races fall into two groups: nominate and berlepschi (combined ranges E Peru and N Bolivia E in Brazil to R Tapajós), with male black-throated; and cinereiventris, pallida and omissa (NE Amazonia E to Guianas, Maranhão S to R Tapajós), with male grey-throated. However, in recent analysis of sonograms, although fairly strong differences were found between these two groups, song of grey-throated omissa was more closely aligned with those of black-throated races than with cinereiventris and pallida; further investigation required. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. m. pallida Berlepsch & E. J. O. Hartert, 1902 – SW Venezuela (W Bolívar, Amazonas), NW Brazil (Roraima and Amazonas N of R Amazon), E Colombia, E Ecuador and NE Peru (N of R Amazon and R Marañón).
  • M. m. cinereiventris P. L. Sclater & Salvin, 1868 – SE Venezuela (E Bolívar), the Guianas and NE Amazonian Brazil (Amapá, N Pará).
  • M. m. menetriesii (d’Orbigny, 1837) – EC & SE Peru (S of R Amazon and R Marañón), SW Amazonian Brazil (E to R Madeira, S to Acre) and NW Bolivia (W Pando, La Paz, and along base of Andes to W Santa Cruz).
  • M. m. berlepschi Hellmayr, 1903 – SC Amazonian Brazil (R Madeira E to R Tapajós and S to Rondônia) and extreme NC & NE Bolivia.
  • M. m. omissa Todd, 1927 – from R Tapajós E to W Maranhão.
  • Descriptive notes

    8·5–9·5 cm; 8–9 g. Male nominate race is bluish-grey, paler below; wing-coverts with black subterminal bar and white tip, tail narrowly tipped white; centre of... read more


    Loudsong nominate race a series of clear long whistles (e.g. 13 notes, 9 seconds) that are flat... read more


    Mid-storey and subcanopy of lowland evergreen forest, both terra firme and transitional,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds on variety of insects, including orthopterans (Acrididae), beetles (Coleoptera); also spiders. Caterpillar seen fed to juvenile.... read more


    Nests found in Feb in Colombia (Mitú) and Venezuela (Amazonas); juvenile being fed by adults in Dec in French Guiana and in Jul in Bolivia... read more


    None recorded; presumed resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common to common over most of its large range. Numerous large, protected areas exist within regions inhabited by this species, examples being... read more

    Recommended citation

    Zimmer, K. & Isler, M.L. (2020). Grey Antwren (Myrmotherula menetriesii). 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 27 February 2020).