Family Gnatcatchers (Polioptilidae)

Least Concern

Guianan Gnatcatcher (Polioptila guianensis)


French: Gobemoucheron guyanais German: Cayennemückenfänger Spanish: Perlita guayanesa

Polioptila guianensis


, 1920,

Tamanoir, Mana River, French Guiana


All races were given species rank in HBW, but they differ in relatively minor characters relating to dorsal coloration, amount of white on the outer rectrices, and voice. Nevertheless, vocal and molecular data for this morphologically conservative grouping are still highly incomplete, thus the present position is preliminary and much dependent on the outcome of further studies. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. g. facilis J. T. Zimmer, 1942 – Rio Negro Gnatcatcher – E Colombia (Guainía#R, Vaupés#R), S Venezuela (S Amazonas) to N Brazil (N Amazonas, WC Roraima).
  • P. g. guianensis Todd, 1920 – Guianan Gnatcatcher – E Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana; N Brazil (NE Amazonas, N Pará, Amapá) S to the Amazon.
  • P. g. clementsi Whitney & Álvarez, 2005 – Iquitos Gnatcatcher – Iquitos region (NC Loreto), in Amazon Basin of NE Peru.
  • P. g. attenboroughi Whittaker et al., 2013 – Inambari Gnatcatcher – Amazonian Brazil S of R Solimões and R Amazon, mainly between R Purus and R Madeira (EC & SC Amazonas and adjacent NW Rondônia)#R.
  • P. g. paraensis Todd, 1937 – Para Gnatcatcher – Brazil S of R Amazon (C Amazonas S to W Mato Grosso, and E to E & NE Pará and Maranhão) and possibly N Bolivia.
  • Descriptive notes

    10–11 cm; 5–7 g (nominate), 5–6 g (clementsi). Adult male nominate race is rather nondescript; has variably obvious white supraloral streak... read more


    Loudsong of nominate race (recorded near Manaus, in Brazil) simple, consisting of repeated high (... read more


    Humid forest, clearings. Inhabits canopy and borders of humid, primary forest and open woodland;... read more

    Food and feeding

    Little known. Almost information on prey items, but presumably small arthropods. Stomach contents of one specimen (race clementsi... read more


    Little known. Fledgling observed in Guyana in late Nov (nominate race)). In Peru (race clementsi, specimens in mid Dec and early... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Considered rare and local throughout range. Apparent gap in distribution probably reflects inadequate sampling, but study needed. The... read more

    Recommended citation

    Atwood, J., Lerman, S. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Guianan Gnatcatcher (Polioptila guianensis). 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 24 April 2019).