Shredders play a major ecological role in temperate streams, but their numerical importance is highly variable within the tropics. Detailed studies on the diets of tropical stream invertebrates are advisable to be able to better describe and understand this variation. Here, we examined the diets of invertebrates collected from the leaf litter of three tropical streams in Colombia, using gut content analysis. Fine and coarse particulate organic matter were the main food resources for invertebrates, which could be divided into four main dietary groups: predators, shredders, specialist collectors and generalist collectors. While the specialist collectors were the most numerically abundant group (54%), shredder biomass accounted for 63% of total invertebrate biomass, suggesting that shredders play a significant ecological role in the study streams. We describe the diets of 12 out of 47 taxa that were previously unknown, which indicates that knowledge about the feeding ecology of tropical stream invertebrates is still incipient.