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Slate-throated Gnatcatcher

Polioptila schistaceigula

The slate-throated gnatcatcher, a diminutive bird with a length of 10 to 11 cm and a weight of around 6 grams, is a study in understated elegance. Its plumage is a tapestry of slate gray across the crown, sides of the head, and upperparts, with a notably darker hue on the back. A contrast is provided by the whitish cheeks, while the throat and breast are of a sooty shade, transitioning to a white belly and flanks. The tail is predominantly black, adorned with white on the outermost feathers. Both male and female birds share this coloration, presenting a uniform appearance.

Identification Tips

When attempting to identify the slate-throated gnatcatcher, look for its slate gray upperparts and the distinctive white on the outer tail feathers. The bird's small size and active foraging behavior in the canopy and sub-canopy are also characteristic.


This species is a denizen of humid primary forests, mature secondary forests, and their fringes. It thrives in these lush environments, flitting through the verdant foliage.


The slate-throated gnatcatcher graces the landscapes of central and eastern Panama, western Colombia, and northwestern Ecuador. It is most commonly found at elevations up to 750 meters, where it is an integral part of the local avifauna.


Feeding Though details of its diet are elusive, it is believed that the slate-throated gnatcatcher consumes small arthropods, much like its Polioptila cousins. It is an active forager, moving through the forest's various strata and occasionally joining mixed-species flocks in search of sustenance.


The bird's vocal repertoire includes a short, ascending trill that can be described as a faint 'trrrrrrt', as well as a nasal mewing call. These sounds add to the rich tapestry of the forest's auditory landscape.

Conservation status

The slate-throated gnatcatcher is currently classified as Least Concern by the IUCN, indicating that, for now, this species does not face immediate threats to its survival.

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Slate-throated Gnatcatchers on Birda

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Chris Bell
05 Oct 2023 - 6:15am

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