Family Typical Antbirds (Thamnophilidae)

Least Concern

Slaty Antwren (Myrmotherula schisticolor)


French: Myrmidon ardoisé German: Hochland-Ameisenschlüpfer Spanish: Hormiguerito pizarroso

Formicivora schisticolor


, 1865,

Turrialba, Cartago, Costa Rica


Often grouped with similarly plumaged species in the “grey antwren assemblage” (see M. axillaris). Close relationship to M. sunensis and M. minor suggested by similarities in morphology, behaviour and vocalizations. Geographical limits of races, as well as molecular and vocal details, require investigation#R. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. s. schisticolor (Lawrence, 1865) – extreme SE Mexico (Chiapas) S on lower mountain slopes (Caribbean slope N of Nicaragua, mostly Pacific slope in Panama) to Colombia (W & WC Andes) and Ecuador (Pacific slope).
  • M. s. sanctaemartae J. A. Allen, 1900 – NE Colombia (Santa Marta Mts and Sierra de Perijá) and N Venezuela (Sierra de Perijá, Andes and Coastal Range E to Sucre).
  • M. s. interior (Chapman, 1914) – Andes in Colombia (W slope of C range, E range) and on E slope S to Peru (S to Puno).
  • Descriptive notes

    9–10 cm; 8·5–10 g. Male nominate race is dark grey, wings darker, throat and upper breast black; concealed white interscapular patch; wing-coverts and crissum... read more


    Loudsong consists of upslurred whistle sounding like “wheet”, repeated singly at... read more


    Understorey of montane and foothill evergreen forest and adjacent second-growth woodland, mostly at... read more

    Food and feeding

    Little published. Feeds on various insects and spiders; stomach contents of single Panama specimen included homopterans (Fulgoridae) and... read more


    Mar–Jul in Costa Rica; adults feeding begging juveniles in Jan–Feb in Venezuela. Nest a deep cup of black fungal rhizomorphs,... read more


    None recorded; presumed resident throughout range.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon to fairly common over most of its rather large range. A number of protected areas exist within regions inhabited by this species, e.g.:... read more

    Recommended citation

    Zimmer, K. & Isler, M.L. (2020). Slaty Antwren (Myrmotherula schisticolor). 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 23 January 2020).