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Tawny-faced Gnatwren - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Thibaud
Pasco, Peru, August, 2020
Microbates cinereiventris


9–11 cm (3½-4¼ in)
A typical gnatwren, small with a short tail, often cocked, and a fairly long bill.
The contrasting rufous cheek patch that gives the species its name should allow for easy identification given reasonable views.
Sexes similar.


Central and South America:
Central America: found in Costa Rica and Panama
South America: Colombia, Ecuador and Peru


Treated as Half-collared Gnatwren by South American Classification Committee Species List (Version 21, May 2014, [1])


There are 4 subspecies[1]:

  • M. c. semitorquatus:
  • M. c. magdalenae:
  • Caribbean slope of extreme eastern Panama to northern Colombia
  • M. c. cinereiventris:
  • Pacific coast of Colombia to south-western Ecuador (Guayas)
  • M. c. peruvianus Trop. se Colombia (Nariño) to e Ecuador and se Peru (Puno)


Wet, humid forests and secondary woodland.


Very active, typically foraging in dense undergrowth, generally in pairs. Has a strong propensity to mob intruders with loud chirring calls, occasionally accompanied by true wrens.


Insectivorous. Their main diet consists of ants, with the addition of other insects and spiders.

They are rarely seen at ant swarms.


Both adults construct the nest from green moss and plant stems. It is lined with soft material. The clutch contains 2 white eggs, which have reddish brown spots, more at the larger end.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Lepage D. (2020) - Avibase. Retrieved 2 October 2020
  3. Atwood, J. L., S. B. Lerman, and E. de Juana (2020). Tawny-faced Gnatwren (Microbates cinereiventris), 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.tafgna1.01
  4. Birdforum Member observations

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