Family Typical Antbirds (Thamnophilidae)

Near Threatened

White-masked Antbird (Pithys castaneus)


French: Fourmilier à masque blanc German: Weißmasken-Ameisenvogel Spanish: Hormiguero castaño

Pithys castanea


, 1938,

Andoas, lower Río Pastaza, Ecuador–Peru; precise locality not determined, probably in Loreto, Peru


In past, some authors thought present species might be a hybrid of P. albifrons and some other antbird species, but rediscovery in 2001 and subsequent observations#R showed it to be a valid species; this is corroborated by molecular phylogeny#R, which indicates that it is sister to P. albifrons. Determination of precise location of type locality problematic, partly because many villages in region have same name, and also because of changing political boundaries. Monotypic.


NE Peru in lower R Pastaza, lower R Morona and R Marañón (W Loreto, E Amazonas)#R#R; possibly also in adjacent Ecuador.

Descriptive notes

14 cm; 27·5–31·5 g. Both sexes have crown, nape, lower ear-coverts and side of throat black, lores, periocular area and chin to centre of throat white; rest of plumage... read more


Loudsong a long (e.g. 1·6 seconds) whistle, rising slightly in pitch and ending with brief... read more


Understorey of lowland evergreen forest, at 200–250 m. Apparently restricted along R Morona... read more

Food and feeding

Feeds on various insects and other arthropods, caught as they flee from broad front of moving swarms of army ants (Eciton). From... read more


Nothing known.


Presumed resident.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened, previously Data Deficient. Restricted-range species: present in Upper Amazon-Napo Lowlands EBA. Until recently... read more

Recommended citation

Zimmer, K. & Isler, M.L. (2020). White-masked Antbird (Pithys castaneus). 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 20 February 2020).