The Gray-headed Antbird inhabits the understory of semi-humid evergreen and deciduous forests in southwest Ecuador and northwest Peru, and due to its small range, within which habitat destruction is both widespread and ongoing, is currently considered to be Vulnerable on a global scale. This antbird has a gray head and neck, a large white dorsal patch, black wing coverts with bold white spotting, a black breast and throat, and otherwise gray underparts. In comparison, the female has a paler head and neck, smaller dorsal patch, wing and tail spotting, and lacks black on the underparts. The species is confined to Chusquea bamboo and dense undergrowth at 600–2900 m, and it rarely forages much above the ground, in either pairs or family groups, but at least occasionally joins mixed-species flocks. The Gray-headed Antbird’s relationships are poorly understood, although it has been suggested that the species’ closest relative is the Esmeraldas Antbird (Myrmeciza nigricauda).