Panama’s only conebill, the White-eared Conebill is a pint-sized member of the tanager family. Conebills are named for their thin, straight, conical bill characteristic of the genus. At only 8 cm in length, they are a compact bird with a short tail. Males are distinguished by a black crown, prominent white cheek patch, unstreaked dark gray back and wings and light gray underparts, and a rufous vent. Females are much duller, with gray upperparts and buffy face and underparts, with a whitish rump. White-eared Conebills forage for insects and nectar in the forest canopy, forest edge, and can also be found in woodlands, from sea level to 800 meters in elevation. They prefer drier forest, and particularly favor areas with Cuipo trees. They are usually found in pairs or small groups, and occasionally in mixed feeding flocks. They are often detected by their call, a series of thin, high-pitched tinkling notes.
The White-eared Conebill ranges from eastern Panama to Colombia and northern Venezuela. It is fairly common in the lowlands of eastern Panama province and Darién, and one of the more charming species to find around the Canopy Camp.