Variegated Antpitta is among the larger and more robust members of the genus Grallaria. It has a brownish back, slate gray crown, pale lores, and a prominent white or buffy submoustachial stripe. The pattern of the underparts is geographically variable, ranging from finely barred to streaked. Variegated Antpitta occupies two separate regions of South America. The northern population (the nominate group, with three subspecies) ranges from the lowlands of northern Peru east to the Guianas, and south to south central Amazonian Brazil. A second population, represented by subspecies imperator and intercedens, occurs in the Atlantic Forest region of southeastern Brazil, and adjacent eastern Paraguay and northeastern Argentina. Throughout its range, Variegated Antpitta most easily is detected by its slightly melancholy sounding, monotone, low hooting song, which is given most frequently at dawn and dusk.