Gnatcatchers and gnatwrens make up the family Polioptilidae. The gnatcatchers are mainly soft bluish grey in color, and have the typical insectivore’s long sharp bill. Many species have distinctive black head patterns (esp. males) and long, regularly cocked, black-and-white tails. The skulking gnatwrens are browner, more thick set, with proportionally shorter tails and longer bills. Gnatwrens typically occur in the
undergrowth of dense, often humid, forest, while gnatcatchers, depending on the species involved, occur in anything from dry scrubby habitats to the canopy of humid Amazonian forest. The breeding behavior of several the Neotropical species is essentially unknown. There are three genera and five species of the family Polioptilidae known to occur in Peru. Photo: Tropical Gnatcatcher ©Carlos Soto.