Family Gnateaters (Conopophagidae)

Least Concern

Slaty Gnateater (Conopophaga ardesiaca)


French: Conophage ardoisé German: Schiefermückenfresser Spanish: Jejenero pizarroso

Conopophaga ardesiaca

d’Orbigny and Lafresnaye

, 1837,

Yungas, Bolivia


Apparently closely allied to C. peruviana and C. castaneiceps, and part of the group centred on C. lineata. Range limits of races not well known, and especially whether or not they meet. Meets C. castaneiceps brunneinucha in SE Cuzco, which probably marks N limit of range. Plumage variation within Bolivian part of range confusing, with seemingly both dark and light specimens from Cochabamba, and three geographically defined types of back colour in females; of these, the olivaceous form, with two specimens from semi-humid forest of Santa Cruz, may represent another, as yet undescribed taxon. Further research and, probably, taxonomic revision required. Two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. a. saturata Berlepsch & Stolzmann, 1906 – E Andes of S Peru S from SE Cuzco (in Marcapata Valley).
  • C. a. ardesiaca d’Orbigny & Lafresnaye, 1837 – from SE Peru (probably from Puno) S to S Bolivia (Tarija).
  • Descriptive notes

    12·5–14 cm; mean of 57 specimens 26·3 g. Male has dark grey forehead and side of head, white postocular plume; crown and upperparts brown, scaled black;... read more


    Song a series of slightly drawn-out, frog-like, weakly disyllabic notes at 2·5–3... read more


    Humid rainforest in foothills; usually found in densest growth available, e.g. around treefalls,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Arthropods. Prey captured from foliage and leaf litter on or near the ground, by short reaches and gleans.


    Fledglings observed in Nov in Peru (Puno); of 52 specimens collected in Bolivia in Jun, Jul and Nov, most were in breeding condition; also... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally common, but few data. Uncommon in Peru, present in Manu National Park and Biosphere Reserve. In Bolivia, present in Madidi National Park (... read more

    Recommended citation

    Whitney, B. (2019). Slaty Gnateater (Conopophaga ardesiaca). 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 19 May 2019).