Manu Antbird is a member of the genus Cercomacra that is restricted to the dense stands of Guadua bamboo that occur along rivers in southeastern Peru, western Brazil, and northern Bolivia. This species only recently was described to science (1990), when a number of species were determined to be Guadua bamboo specialists. Males somewhat resemble male Gray Antbird (Cercromacra cinerascens), with which it overlaps, but is blacker below, and has a notably different song, a tuck-grrr-grrr, that is more "guttural" than the song of Gray Antbird. Female Manu Antbird is quite different, being gray below, with a brownish tone to the upperparts. All other Amazonia members of the genus Cercomacra (including Gray Antbird) have females with brown or tawny underparts. Manu Antbird also overlaps with Blackish Antbird (Cercomacra nigrescens), but that species typically occupies dense secondary habitats at the edge of streams or treefalls. Female Blackish Antbird is rich tawny on the underparts, and the primary song and call of Blackish Antbird is very different from those of Manu Antbird. The Manu Antbird is found in isolated pairs and rarely joins mixed-species flocks.