Guianan Antwarbler Hypocnemis cantator


Justification of Red List category

This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km² combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as fairly common to common, particularly in Guyana and French Guiana (del Hoyo et al. 2003).

Trend justification
The population of Guianan Antwarbler was suspected to be in decline by 20-25% over the next three generations based on a model of Amazonian deforestation (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011). However, this analysis has since been repeated using more recent data on forest loss within the range (Tracewski et al. 2016). Tracewski et al. (2016) measured the forest loss within the species’s range between 2000 and 2012 as c. 7,645 km2. This roughly equates to a rate of forest loss of 1% over three generations (14.4 years). As the species seems to tolerate habitat degradation, it may not be as severely affected by deforestation as previously feared. Therefore, the population is tentatively assessed as stable.

Distribution and population

Hypocnemis cantator occurs in the Guyana Shield of northern South America, and is generally fairly common. It ranges from the extreme east-central Venezuela (north-western Bolívar) through Suriname, Guyana and French Guiana to north-east Amazonian Brazil (lower Rio Negro eastwards to Amapá) (del Hoyo et al. 2003, Restall et al. 2006).


The species inhabits the understorey and middle strata of forest edges in terra firme (unflooded) forest, transitional forest and várzea (seasonally flooded forest). It occurs mostly along forest borders, in treefall gaps as well as in tall secondary woodland (Zimmer et al. 2019). It prefers lowlands, ranging up to 1,300 m in Guyana (del Hoyo et al. 2003).


The primary threat to this species is deforestation, as land is cleared for cattle ranching and soy production, facilitated by expansion of the road network (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011). It may be particularly susceptible to the fragmentation of its forest habitat (A. Lees in litt. 2011). Proposed changes to the Brazilian Forest Code reduce the percentage of land a private landowner is legally required to maintain as forest (including, critically, a reduction in the width of forest buffers alongside perennial steams) and include an amnesty for landowners who deforested before July 2008 (who would subsequently be absolved of the need to reforest illegally cleared land) (Bird et al. 2011).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway

None is known.

Conservation Actions Proposed

Expand the protected area network to effectively protect IBAs. Effectively resource and manage existing and new protected areas, utilising emerging opportunities to finance protected area management with the joint aims of reducing carbon emissions and maximizing biodiversity conservation. Conservation on private lands, through expanding market pressures for sound land management and preventing forest clearance on lands unsuitable for agriculture, is also essential (Soares-Filho et al. 2006). Campaign against proposed changes to the Brazilian Forest Code that would lead to a decrease in the width of the areas of riverine forest protected as Permanent Preservation Areas (APPs), which function as vital corridors in fragmented landscapes.


11-12 cm. Medium-sized, brown antbird. Male has pale grey upperparts, black crown with white streaks and white supercilia, and a white throat and breast. Wings, tail, belly and rump brown. Female more uniform brown but also has white throat, breast and supercilia.


Text account compilers
Hermes, C., Symes, A.

Lees, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Hypocnemis cantator. Downloaded from on 29/09/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 29/09/2023.