Masked Gnatcatcher

Masked Gnatcatcher
Masked Gnatcatcher
Male at Rocha, Uruguay
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Polioptilidae
Genus: Polioptila
Species: P. dumicola
Binomial name
Polioptila dumicola
(Vieillot, 1817)

The Masked Gnatcatcher (Polioptila dumicola) is a small active insectivorous songbird, found in northern Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and southern and central Brazil. It is found in a wide range of semi-open habitats, including dry forest and Cerrado. It is generally fairly common, and consequently considered to be of least concern by BirdLife International and IUCN.

Its jizz is similar to that of other gnatcatchers; a small bird with a relatively long thin bill, a long frequently cocked tail, and grey upperparts. The central rectrices are black, while the outer are white (consequently, the tail appears primarily black from above, white from below), and there is a white patch in the wing (caused by broad white edging to the tertials). Males of the southern and western group (including subspecies saturata), the Masked Gnatcatchers in the strict sense, have grey underparts and a broad black mask. Females lack the mask, but instead have a black patch behind the eyes on the auriculars. The northern nominate subspecies dumicola is distinctive, with white underparts in both sexes, and a narrow black mask in the male. It may be a separate species, Berlepsch's Gnatcatcher.


  • BirdLife International 2004. Polioptila dumicola. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 26 July 2007.
  • Atwood, J. L.; & Lerman, S. B. (2006). Masked Gnatcatcher (Polioptila dumicola). pp. 376 in: del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; & Christie, D. A. eds. (2006). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 11. Old World Flycatchers to Old World Warblers. Lynx Edictions, Barcelona. ISBN 84-96553-06-X