The chestnut-backed antbird (Myrmeciza exsul) is a passerine bird in the antbird family. It is found in humid forests in Central and South America (Chocó-Magdalena), ranging from eastern Nicaragua to western Ecuador. It mainly occurs in lowlands up to an altitude of 900 metres (3,000 ft) m, but locally it occurs higher.

This is a common bird in the understory thickets of wet forest, especially at edges, along streams and in old treefall clearings, and in adjacent tall second growth. The female lays two purple or red-brown spotted white eggs, which are incubated by both sexes, in an untidy cup nest which is constructed from vines, plant fibre and dead leaves and placed low in vegetation. The male and female parents both feed the chicks.



The chestnut-backed antbird is heavy-bodied and short-tailed, typically 14 centimetres (5.5 in) long, and weighing 28 grams (0.99 oz). Both sexes have a pale blue bare patch of skin around each eye. The adult male has a blackish head, neck and breast, and the rest of the upperparts, wings and tail are chestnut. The flanks and the lower belly are a somewhat darker brown. The female has a brownish-black head and neck, but this does not extend to the breast. Her underparts are a darker chestnut in the nominate subspecies of the Caribbean lowlands from Nicaragua to Panama, but more rufous in M. e. occidentalis of the Pacific lowlands in Costa Rica and Panama. M. e. niglarus from eastern Panama and far north-western Colombia (northern Chocó Department) is similar. Young birds are duller and slatier than the adults.

The subspecies found in far south-east Panama (Darién Province), Colombia (except northern Chocó Department) and Ecuador, M. e. maculifer and M. e. cassini, have two wing bars consisting of white spots. They were once considered a separate species, the wing-spotted antbird (M. maculifer), but are vocally similar to the subspecies without spots on the wings, and the two groups hybridize where their distributions come into contact.

This species has a grating naar call, and the male’s song is a whistled peeet peeew answered by the female’s higher pitched version.

The chestnut-backed antbird is normally found as pairs throughout the year, but occasionally joins mixed-species feeding flocks or army ants. It feeds on insects, other arthropods, and sometimes small frogs or lizards taken from leaf litter and vine tangles in low vegetation or on the ground. It is easier to hear than see in its dense habitat, but can be attracted by imitating its whistled song. It may then give a territorial display with puffed-up body, drooped wings, and pumping tail.



Date Location Count
2020-03-19 05:45RB Indio Maíz--Entrada y Refugio Bartola2
2020-03-28 07:35Barra del Colorado1
2020-03-12 06:05Tortuguero--Caño Palma2
2020-03-17 05:54Tortuga Lodge2
2020-03-16 14:40Tortuguero--Alrededores 4 Esquinas1
2020-03-09 05:44Laguna Lagarto Lodge2
2020-03-09 06:39Maquenque Eco-Lodge2
2020-03-24 15:06PN Guanacaste--Estación Biológica Pitilla2
2020-03-17 06:06Las Heliconias Lodge and hanging bridges2
2020-04-01 14:21Catarata Bijagua2
2020-04-04 15:11Chilamate Rainforest Eco Retreat2
2020-03-14 07:30La Selva (OTS Reserve)--Stone Bridge, Río Puerto Viejo1
2020-03-30 15:16Canaan Farm3
2020-03-19 05:58La Selva (OTS Reserve)2
2020-04-03 05:39Tirimbina Rainforest Center2
2020-03-13 01:05Tirimbina--Field Station2
2020-03-21 06:30Yatama Eco-Lodge (Sarapiquí)2
2020-03-07 06:05Arenal Misticopark (Hanging Bridges)2
2020-03-13 08:10PN Arenal--Península Trail4
2020-03-14 07:34Sky Adventures - Arenal Park1
2020-03-10 10:11UCR Sede del Caribe1
2020-03-11 09:10PN Braulio Carrillo--Quebrada González1
2020-03-19 10:11Río Guanche--Potreros1
2020-03-31 07:30Veragua Rainforest Park
2020-03-23 07:59Garduk1
2020-03-07 09:15Finca Madroño1
2020-03-19 09:05PN Cahuita3
2020-03-11 06:00Reserva Biológica Hitoy-Cerere6
2020-03-16 06:15Achiote Rd. (general location)2
2020-03-16 06:20Territorio Indígena Chorë (Yorkin)4
2020-03-08 09:35Barro Colorado Island--Donato Trail2
2020-03-20 06:45Pipeline Road (Camino del Oleoducto) General area4
2020-03-14 07:00Pipeline Road2
2020-03-14 06:40Panama Rainforest Discovery Center2
2020-03-18 06:00Turubari Park1
2020-03-11 08:27Pipeline Road (entrance to Juan Grande creek)1
2020-03-30 14:00Bosque Merenbiti2
2020-03-09 06:53Plantation Road2
2020-03-23 08:20Semaphore Hill Road1
2020-03-21 19:54Carretera a Junquito1
2020-03-09 06:00PN Carara--Puente Río Tárcoles6
2020-03-19 09:00PN Carara--Sendero La Meandrica1
2020-03-18 05:16PN Carara (Localidad General)--historical please use other hotspots6
2020-03-08 08:29Reserva San Francisco1
2020-03-17 07:28PN Carara--main headquarters2
2020-03-19 13:45PN Carara--Sendero Quebrada Bonita2
2020-03-13 07:15Road from Villa Lapas to Pura Vida Waterfall Gardens1
2020-03-19 05:47Villa Lapas1
2020-03-11 06:45Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge2
2020-03-31 17:00Rinconcito de Macca Bite (original)1
2020-03-15 07:14Bocas Ridge Hotel and Residences2
2020-03-14 05:42Esquipulas--El diamante1
2020-03-18 06:07Esquipulas (town)1
2020-03-14 05:33Tajo Las Nubes1
2020-03-14 06:07Quebrada Arroyo — Road4
2020-04-01 06:14Rafiki Safari Lodge4
2020-03-22 05:05Los Cusingos10
2020-03-18 16:50Rio Magnolia Lodge (restricted access)2
2020-03-13 07:42La Palapa Ecolodge Resort1
2020-03-19 08:33PN Manuel Antonio6
2020-03-11 06:13Platanillo de PZ2
2020-03-17 06:25Hacienda Baru4
2020-03-07 05:35PN La Amistad-Sector Pittier2
2020-03-08 05:50PN La Amistad--Altamira3
2020-03-17 07:17Sierpe--Finca 6 archaeological site (Museo Nacional)6
2020-03-10 07:46Alto de Piedra2
2020-03-16 06:09Rio Sierpe--Mangrove Boat Tour2
2020-04-03 09:13Esquinas Rainforest Lodge2
2020-03-08 10:09Golfito6
2020-03-09 09:30Rincon Mangrove Forest (Osa)2
2020-03-09 07:37Rio Rincón bridge & environs2
2020-03-07 06:16Drake Bay--Agujitas and environs1
2020-03-14 12:38Drake Bay--Hiking Trail2
2020-03-11 10:14PN Darién--Sendero a Rancho Frío1
2020-03-28Finca La Cotinga2
2020-03-11 09:28PN Darién--Rancho Frío (Estación Pirre)2
2020-03-11 06:59PN Darién--Rancho Plástico2
2020-03-10 16:04Casa Corcovado Jungle Lodge1
2020-03-20 05:02Puerto Jiménez1
2020-03-16 08:13PN Corcovado--San Pedrillo1
2020-03-21 15:06Rio Tigre Road (Osa)2
2020-03-12 15:03Dos Brazos2
2020-03-16 08:00Bolita Rainforest Hostel
2020-03-23 05:52Bosque del Rio Tigre Lodge2
2020-03-09 06:30Lapa Rios--Hwy 245 forest (below lodge)4
2020-03-11 06:30Lapa Rios -- Observation Deck/ Pool Area2
2020-03-06 09:20El Remanso Eco Lodge & Resort2
2020-03-13 07:25Finca Velásquez4
2020-03-14 06:00RN El Silencio2
2020-03-13 15:12RNA Paujil (Dept. Boyaca)1
2020-03-19 06:30RN Cañon del Río Claro1
2020-03-19 06:07Balneario Valparaiso3
2020-03-19 05:54RN San Cipriano-Escalerete7
2020-03-09 06:23Balneario La Delfina3
2020-03-11 06:20Alto Potedó5
2020-03-11 16:45RN Aguaclara2
2020-03-14 06:59Bajo Anchicayá--Zona de Cascada2
2020-03-15 05:55Bajo Anchicayá - Ladrilleros1
2020-03-21 06:27Via Antigua a Buenaventura1
2020-03-15 15:44Alto Anchicayá1
2020-03-10 06:00Playa de Oro Reserva de Los Tigrillos2
2020-03-12Reserva Rio Canande
2020-03-15 06:47Rio Silanche Bird Sanctuary2
2020-03-16 07:05Reserva Maquipucuna1
2020-03-08 09:00Rancho Suamox1
2020-03-23 05:30Reserva las Tangaras1