Family Typical Antbirds (Thamnophilidae)

Least Concern

White-shouldered Antbird (Akletos melanoceps)


French: Alapi à épaules blanches German: Weißschulter-Ameisenvogel Spanish: Hormiguero hombroblanco

Thamnophilus melanoceps


, 1825,

“in Sylvis Parae”; error = Rio Içá, Amazonas, Brazil.


Considered sister to A. goeldii#R#R, with similarities in morphology and voice, although differences in location of hidden white patches and possibly in nest architecture may indicate more distant relationship; the two appear to be sympatric in Brazil along upper R Juruá (Acre). Form described as “Akletos peruvianus” later identified as female of present species. Monotypic.


SE Colombia (Meta, Caquetá, Putumayo, S Amazonas), E Ecuador, NE & EC Peru (Loreto, Amazonas, N Ucayali) and W Amazonian Brazil (E to R Japurá and to both banks of R Juruá).

Descriptive notes

17 cm; 36–40 g. Bare periorbital area narrow, blue. Male is black; hidden white patch under scapulars; iris deep red. Female has head to upper mantle and upper breast... read more


Loudsong a short series (e.g. 7 notes, 2·1 seconds) that begins with 2 soft notes, first... read more


Understorey and floor of evergreen flooded forest (várzea), transitional forest, forest... read more

Food and feeding

Little published. Feeds on insects, probably also other arthropods; insect fragments and a seed found in stomachs. Closely associated pair-... read more


A nest found in Colombia (Meta) in Oct (details previously unpublished); gonadal condition of females and sightings of juveniles or... read more


Presumed resident.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Fairly common throughout its range. Regions inhabited by this species contain several large protected areas, e.g. Amacayacu and La Paya National... read more

Recommended citation

Zimmer, K. & Isler, M.L. (2019). White-shouldered Antbird (Akletos melanoceps). 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 21 May 2019).