Four subspecies of the Northern Slaty-Antshrike are recognized on account of their reasonably marked morphological (but not vocal) variation. Males are basically black and gray, while females exhibit a more complex mix of brown, rufous, black, and some white. The species as a whole is distributed across much of the Guiana Shield, as well as more locally in the foothills of the east Andes, from southwest Venezuela to eastern Colombia, and thereafter reappearing in southern Ecuador and northernmost Peru, where two subspecies are confined to small areas within important river drainages. Their highly disjunct ranges, vis à vis other populations, have promoted considerable interest in their taxonomy. In general behavior and ecology the Northern Slaty-Antshrike is typical of the superspecies complex as a whole, and like the other four species it is easily attracted using playback. This antshrike is a generally common inhabitant of a wide variety of forest types, other than seasonally flooded areas, across its range.