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Masked Gnatcatcher - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by luisrock62
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Polioptila dumicola


Photo © by Rodrigo Conte
Brasilia, Brazil, 29 December 2013

Blue-grey above, lighter grey below, black wings edged white, black tail with white outer feathers. The male has a black mask bordered below by a thin white line while the female has a much narrower black area, a white eyering and white cheeks and lores.


Subspecies P. d. dumicola
Photo © by Stanley Jones
Capilla del Monte, Cordoba Province, Argentina, 5 October 2019

This species is found in South America in the countries of Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina.


This is a polytypic species[1] consisting of 3 subspecies:

  • P. d. berlepschi

Interior eastern Brazil (northern Goias, southeastern Para to Mato Grosso) and eastern Bolivia

  • P. d. dumicola

Extreme southern Brazil to Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and northern Argentina

  • P. d. saturata

Highlands of Bolivia (Cochabamba)

Race P. d. berlepschi is much paler with different vocalizations and may be a separate species.


Light woodland, gallery woodland and scrub.


Forages for small insects mostly in tree canopy. In mixed flocks during non breeding season but often in pairs during breeding season. Usually hops on branches and twigs searching for prey on nearby foliage mostly by gleaning. Said to be permanently monogamous. The nest is a small deep cup of vegetable fibres, spider webs, with lichens attached to the outer wall, thus resembling some hummingbird nests. Clutch is 3–5 eggs, usually just 3. Incubation and care of young by both sexes. Young reported to remain with parents for 6–7 months, much longer than known for any other gnatcatcher.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2021. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2021. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Atwood, J. L. and S. B. Lerman (2020). Masked Gnatcatcher (Polioptila dumicola), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott, J. Sargatal, D. A. Christie, and E. de Juana, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.masgna1.01
  3. Lepage D. (2021) [Avibase - https://avibase.ca/B47F0D81]. Retrieved 24 August 2021

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.1