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Species Guide

Plain Antvireo

Dysithamnus mentalis

The Plain Antvireo, Dysithamnus mentalis, is a member of the Thamnophilidae family, commonly known as "typical antbirds". This passerine bird is rather robust, with a large head and a short tail, measuring between 10 to 13 cm in length and weighing 12 to 16 grams.

Identification Tips

Males of the nominate subspecies, D. m. mentalis, are characterized by a dark gray forehead and crown, blackish ear coverts, and grayish olive upperparts with a concealed white patch between the scapulars. Their wings are dark with olive edges, and their underparts range from white with light gray spots to pale gray with a yellow belly center. Females, on the other hand, have a cinnamon-tawny crown and more olive-toned upperparts and wings, lacking the male's white interscapular patch. Their underparts are more extensively yellow than the males'.


The Plain Antvireo inhabits a variety of landscapes, from humid montane evergreen forests and mature secondary forests in Mexico and Central America to dry savanna forests, gallery forests, and semi-deciduous forests in South America.


This species boasts an extensive range, found in Mexico, every Central American country except El Salvador, Trinidad and Tobago, and every mainland South American country except Chile, French Guiana, Suriname, and Uruguay.


The Plain Antvireo is a year-round resident that forages mostly on insects and other arthropods. It typically forages alone or in pairs, often joining mixed-species feeding flocks. It forages from near the ground to about 4 or 5 meters above it, gleaning from a perch or occasionally sallying from a perch to hover-glean.

Song & Calls

The song of the Plain Antvireo is a short series of notes that start evenly paced and gradually become more abrupt, dropping in pitch and ending in an accelerating roll. Its calls include a nasal, musical note and a rapid series of gradually rising notes.


The nesting season varies geographically, with nests being cups of fibers often covered with green moss. The clutch size is typically two eggs, incubated by both parents. Breeding pairs are territorial, defending habitats that can range up to about 7,000 square meters.

Conservation Status

The IUCN has classified the Plain Antvireo as Least Concern, with an estimated population of at least 500,000 mature individuals. Though the population is believed to be decreasing, no immediate threats have been identified. It is generally fairly common, though its numbers vary across its range.

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