The white-bearded antshrike is a distinctive yet secretive bird, thought to be one of the rarest endemic avian species within its range (3). The male white-bearded antshrike is a rich reddish-brown, olive to buff below, with a black cap (2) (3) (4), and a crest which is raised when the bird is excited (5). When the crest is down, the head looks distinctly flattened (6). The lower throat and neck are black and, as the name suggests, there is a white collar, more buffy on the back of the neck, which extends onto the cheeks and chin. A white line is also sometimes visible in front of and behind the eye (2) (3) (4). The beak is quite stout (3) and, unusually for an antshrike, is only moderately hooked (6).
The female white-bearded antshrike is even more secretive than the male (7), and differs in having a reddish-brown crown, a conspicuous white line above the eye, and no black on the throat or breast (2) (3) (4). The female is similar in appearance to the white-collared foliage-gleaner, with which this species often associates (3), but the latter lacks the reddish crown and wings, and has a different beak shape (4). The song of the white-bearded antshrike, given by both the male and female, is a series of six to twelve soft, fairly melodic, high-pitched kiu notes (2) (3) (4), but the species rarely sings spontaneously, and is most easily found using tape-playback (6) (7).
- Length: 17 - 18 cm (2)