Family Typical Antbirds (Thamnophilidae)

Least Concern

White-flanked Antwren (Myrmotherula axillaris)


French: Myrmidon à flancs blancs German: Weißflanken-Ameisenschlüpfer Spanish: Hormiguerito flanquialbo

Myrmothera axillaris


, 1817,

Guiana = French Guiana


According to genetic studies, may be most closely related to M. longipennis and M. menetriesii. Often grouped with these two and M. schisticolor, M. sunensis, M. minor, M. urosticta, M. iheringi, M. grisea, M. unicolor, M. snowi and M. behni as the “grey antwren assemblage”, although this grouping may not be monophyletic#R. Until recently considered conspecific with M. luctuosa (which see). Morphological distinctions between races heterozyga and fresnayana unclear. Distributions of races given below are tentative, based primarily on previous published statements. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. a. albigula Lawrence, 1865 – Caribbean slope from SE Honduras S to Colombia (except Santa Marta Mts), and Pacific slope from C Panama (Panamá Province, Darién) S to Ecuador (Manabí, NW Azuay).
  • M. a. melaena (P. L. Sclater, 1857) – Santa Marta Mts and Colombia E of Andes, W Venezuela (Andean slopes E to Mérida and Barinas, NW Bolívar, W Amazonas), NW Brazil (upper R Negro S to N bank of R Amazon), E Ecuador and NE Peru (Amazonas, San Martín, Loreto).
  • M. a. axillaris (Vieillot, 1817) – E Venezuela (Apure, Monagas, Delta Amacuro, and S of R Orinoco E of R Caura), Trinidad, the Guianas, E Amazonian Brazil (from both banks of lower R Negro E to Amapá and, S of R Amazon, E of R Madeira to Maranhão and S to Tocantins and Mato Grosso) and NE Bolivia (NE Santa Cruz).
  • M. a. heterozyga J. T. Zimmer, 1932 – EC Peru (Ucayali S to Madre de Dios) and SW Amazonian Brazil (W of R Madeira).
  • M. a. fresnayana (d’Orbigny, 1835) – extreme SE Peru (N Puno) and NW & C Bolivia (W of R Mamoré, and along base of Andes E to W Santa Cruz).
  • Descriptive notes

    9–10 cm; 5–9·5 g (nominate), 7·9–8·1 g (race albigula), 6·8–10·6 g (race melaena). Male nominate... read more


    Loudsong of nominate race, heterozyga and fresnayana a rapid uncountable series... read more


    Understorey and midstorey of evergreen forest (terra firme, transitional, and v... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds mostly on insects and spiders. Stomach contents of specimens included following: from Surinam, spiders, dipterans (Tipulidae),... read more


    Season Mar–Jul in Costa Rica, Mar–Aug in Panama, Jul–Dec and Feb–Mar in French Guiana (probably similar in Suriname... read more


    Presumed resident throughout range.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly common to common throughout its large range. Regions in which it occurs contain numerous protected areas, as well as vast... read more

    Recommended citation

    Zimmer, K., Isler, M.L. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). White-flanked Antwren (Myrmotherula axillaris). 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 February 2020).