Dark Pewees

The Dark Pewee (Contopus lugubris,) is a large, dark pewee that is endemic to the highlands of Costa Rica and western Panama where it occurs from 1250 to 2150 m altitude in wet mountain forests, particularly at the edges and in clearings, and in adjacent semi-open areas with tall trees.

Outside the breeding season, they are usually seen alone. They feed on insects.

Nesting / Breeding:

The nest is a broad, thick-walled saucer of mosses and lichens, lined with plant fibers. It is placed 5-18 m high across a branch. The eggs are undescribed, but in related species, the female builds the nest and incubates a typical clutch of two eggs for 15-16 days to hatching.

It will defend the nest aggressively against larger species.


The Dark Pewee measures about 26.5 cm in length and weighs 23 g.

The plumage above is sooty-grey, darkest on the prominently crested crown. The wings and tail are blackish, the wings having grey feather edges and a weak wing bar. The throat is pale grey, with most of the rest of the underparts a paler olive-grey than the back, becoming yellowish on the lower abdomen.

Males and females look alike, but young birds are browner above and have rufous fringes to the wing feathers.

Call / Vocalization:

Its call is described as an incessant loud whip call and its call is a repetitive fred-reek-fear.

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Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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