Family Typical Antbirds (Thamnophilidae)

Least Concern

Plain-winged Antwren (Myrmotherula behni)


French: Myrmidon de Behn German: Grauflügel-Ameisenschlüpfer Spanish: Hormiguerito de Behn

Myrmotherula behni

Berlepsch and Leverkühn

, 1890,

“Bogotá” trade skin, Colombia


Appears to be closely related to M. grisea on basis of habitat and vocalizations, also to M. unicolor and M. snowi of Brazilian Atlantic Forest, the four together termed the “Plain-winged Myrmotherula group”. They are often grouped with the “grey antwren assemblage” (see M. axillaris). Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. b. yavii J. T. Zimmer & Phelps, Sr, 1948 – S Venezuela (NW Bolívar, Amazonas except Cerro Camani) and adjacent Brazil (extreme N Amazonas).
  • M. b. camanii Phelps, Sr & Phelps, Jr, 1952 – Cerro Camani, in N Amazonas (Venezuela).
  • M. b. inornata P. L. Sclater, 1890 – Venezuela (SE Bolívar), adjacent Brazil (extreme N Roraima) and Guyana (Pakaraima Mts#R); observations from French Guiana require confirmation.
  • M. b. behni Berlepsch & Leverkühn, 1890 – locally on E Andean slope in SC Colombia (Meta) and E Ecuador (Sucumbíos to Zamora-Chinchipe).
  • Descriptive notes

    9·5 cm; 1 female 7·9 g. Male nominate race is grey, darker on wings; chin to centre of throat and upper breast black; underwing-coverts grey. Female has crown and upperparts... read more


    Known only from Ecuador. Loudsong a series of simple, slightly downslurred notes on approximately... read more


    Understorey and mid-storey of montane and foothill evergreen forest; 800–1600 m in Colombia... read more

    Food and feeding

    Not well known; all information from Ecuador. Feeds on small insects, probably also spiders. Forages in pairs, individually, or in family... read more


    Nothing known.


    Presumed resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Rare and patchily distributed throughout its range. Reported sight records of race inornata from near sea-level in Guyana, Surinam and... read more

    Recommended citation

    Zimmer, K. & Isler, M.L. (2020). Plain-winged Antwren (Myrmotherula behni). 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).