The Chestnut-backed Antbird has an unusual tendency to persist in highly fragmented landscapes from which many/most other forest-dependent antbirds disappear or decline. Nest success in general is low, and nest success in fragmented situations is often even lower (e.g., Young et al. 2008). Tendency to renest following failure may be higher in this species than many others and thus allow persistence (Sieving 1992), but studies of natural (as opposed to artificial) nests are needed. Estimates of survival during the post-fledging stage (i.e., while still dependent on parents) also are needed, as is an estimate of how long juveniles are typically dependent on the adults after leaving the nest.
The role of females in territory defense is unclear. Observations using male song playback suggest a relatively minor role in territory defense, but it is not known whether females respond more aggressively to challenges by females (or if birds perceive male and female songs differently), as in some other antbirds (Tobias and Seddon 2009, in press).
Several other species share approximate geographic ranges with Chestnut-backed Antbird (e.g., Silver-throated Tanager [Tangara icterocephalus], Song Wren [Cyphorinus phaeocephalus]), and some also have been studied from a phylogeographic perspective (e.g., Bay Wren [Thryothorus nigricapillus], González et al. 2003). Phylogeographic study of the Chestnut-backed Antbird would help elucidate patterns of colonization and differentiation of the southern Central American region.