The Mato Grosso Antbird is common in the pantanal region of Mato Grosso, Brazil, but the distribution extends west to north central Bolivia, and it also occurs in far northern Paraguay. In general appearance, this antbird is a typical Cercomacra: medium sized, with a graduated tail and a fairly long, slender bill. The male is mostly black, with white-tipped wing coverts and white tips to the rectrices; the male is very similar to several other species in the genus, especially to the Rio Branco Antbird (Cercomarca carbonaria), the Jet Antbird (Cercomacra nigricans), and the Bananal Antbird (Cercomacra ferdinandi). All of these species are distributed around the edges of Amazonia, and do not overlap geographically with each other. The female is mostly gray-brown, paler on the underparts, but with the wing and tail pattern as in the male. Mato Grosso Antbirds typically forage as pairs in the under- and midstory of thickets in gallery forest and the edge of deciduous forests.