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Species Guide

Dusky Antbird

Cercomacroides tyrannina

The dusky antbird, known scientifically as Cercomacroides tyrannina, is a modestly sized passerine bird belonging to the antbird family. This species exhibits sexual dimorphism in its plumage. The adult male is predominantly blackish-grey above with a paler grey underbelly, accented by two white wing bars. In contrast, the female is adorned with brown upperparts and a rufous-cinnamon hue on the underparts. Juveniles, particularly males, tend to be darker than their adult counterparts. The plumage can vary slightly depending on the geographical location, as there are several subspecies of this bird.

Identification Tips

When attempting to identify the dusky antbird, look for the male's distinctive blackish-grey and pale grey coloration with white wing bars. The female can be recognized by her brown and rufous-cinnamon plumage. These birds measure approximately 14.5 cm in length and weigh around 18 grams. Their size and coloration, along with their habitat, can help distinguish them from other species.


The dusky antbird thrives in the understory thickets of wet forests, particularly at the edges and clearings, as well as in adjacent tall secondary growth. It is a bird that prefers the lower levels of the forest, often found in dense vegetation.


This bird has a wide range that extends from southeastern Mexico through Central America and into South America, reaching as far as western Ecuador and Amazonian Brazil. It is a resident breeder throughout its range.


The dusky antbird is typically observed in pairs and maintains this pairing throughout the year. It does not typically associate with mixed-species feeding flocks. This species is known for being more often heard than seen due to its preference for dense habitats.

Song & Calls

The vocalizations of the dusky antbird include a distinctive whistled "kick" call. The bird's song is a collaborative duet between the sexes, with the male's ascending whistle "pu pu pe pi pi" being met by the female's softer, jerky "juu-ut juu-ut juu-ut juu-ut juu-ut."


Both male and female dusky antbirds share the responsibility of incubating their two reddish-brown-spotted white eggs. The eggs are laid in a small, deep cup nest made of plant fibers and dead leaves, which is suspended from a thin branch or vine low in a tree. Both parents are also involved in feeding the chicks.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the dusky antbird consists primarily of insects and other arthropods, which it forages from twigs and foliage within thickets or vine tangles.

Conservation status

The dusky antbird is currently classified as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, indicating that it is not at immediate risk of population decline or extinction.

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Jennifer M,Hernandez
25 Apr 2024 - 11:39pm

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