Small antshrike with extensive plumage variation among subspecies for both sexes. Found in the lower and middle levels of woodland and second growth. Typical males are dark gray with a dark cap, white wing coverts, and a white-tipped tail. Andean subspecies are black above and black or barred below. Females are rusty-brown, with most having well marked, spotted wingbars. The song is a loud and fast series of 7 “ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-ka” notes.