Unsorted Wild Birds

Mistletoe Tyrannulet or Paltry Tyrannulet

The Mistletoe Tyrannulets (Zimmerius vilissimus), also known as the Paltry Tyrannulets, range from southern Mexico to Panama,. Specifically they are found in South Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, north and northwest Colombia and north Venezuela.

They are common in humid regions from the lowlands to 3000 m altitude.

Paltry Tyrannulets inhabit forests, second growth, pasture and plantations with trees, and shady gardens; where they are usually seen alone or in pairs, high up in trees.


The Paltry or Mistletoe Tyrannulet averages 9.5 cm in length and weighs around weighs 8.5 g.

The plumage is olive green above, except for the dull grey crown on the head and grey supercilia.

Its wings are blackish with yellow feather edging – but no wing bars. Its longish tail is dusky-colored.

The throat and breast are creamy white with grey streaking. The abdomen is white. The flanks are tinted a dull yellow-green. Its long legs are blackish.

Males and females look alike. Juvenile birds have an olive crown, yellow-tinged supercilia and broader but paler wing bars.

Calls / Vocalizations

The Paltry Tyrannulet’s call is a loud peeer. Its song, mostly heard at dawn, sounds like a mournful yer-de-dee, yer-de-dee.

Breeding / Nesting

The nest has roughly the shape of a ball, with a side entrance – typically built amongst mosses or dangling roots (please refer to above) – usually 2 to 15 m above the ground . Some of them are constructed inside large dead leaves or inside or below a Yellow-olive Flycatcher’s pendant nest. It is made of mosses and lined with plant material.

A clutch usually consists of two rufous-marked dull white eggs, which are incubated by the female for about 14 to 15 days to hatching. The young fledge when they are about 17 days old.

Diet / Feeding

Mistletoe Tyrannulets mostly feed on mistletoe (hence its name), but will also take other berries as well as insects, which are typically caught in flight.


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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