Chestnut-belted Gnateater occupies the understory of rainforest in northwestern and central Amazonia from eastern Ecuador, eastern Peru, and southern Colombia east through central Brazil and the Guainas. It is characterized by a chestnut band across the breast, a black throat and mask, and a bright white splash behind the eye, that it flares when excited. The plumage differs between the sexes, with females lacking the black mask and throat. In Ecuador and in northeastern Peru, the range of two lowland Amazonian gnateaters is delineated by the Napo River, with Chestnut-belted restricted to the east and north banks, and Ash-throated Gnateater (Conopaphaga peruviana) found on the west and south banks; these two species overlap in Peru south of the Amazon, however. Chestnut-belted Gnateaters forage on insects, mainly on the ground, and are found in isolated pairs throughout the forest, where they are highly territorial.