White-backed Fire-Eye is an antbird of forest understory that exhibits marked variation across its range in northern South America. Likely several species are involved, but further study is required. Males in all populations are black overall, with a small white patch on the lower mantle, and bright red eyes. Females are far more variable - some shade of brown overall in most populations, but strongly bicolored black and brown in others. The loudsong is generally a series of short whistles rising and falling in pitch. All populations inhabit forest understory, but elevational ranges vary between regions. They feed on arthropods and small reptiles, often at army ant swarms, and build spherical nests of leaves.