Wild Birds

Tyrant Flycatchers

Tyrant Flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Tyrant Flycatchers (Tyrannidae) are a large family of passerine birds which occur throughout North and South America, but are mainly tropical in distribution.

They are members of suborder Tyranni (suboscines) and so do not have the sophisticated vocal capabilities of the songbirds.

The becards and tityras were formerly considered to be cotingas, but are now usually included in the Tyrannidae. They are also sometimes given their own family, the Tityridae.

Tyrant Flycatchers on a Steel Wire
Tyrant Flycatchers on a Steel Wire


Most, but not all, are rather plain, and many have erectile crests.

They superficially resemble the Old World flycatchers, but are more robust with stronger bills.

Diet / Feeding

As the name implies, most are insectivorous, but some will eat fruit.

Habitat / Distribution

Species richness of Tyrannidae, when compared to habitat, is highly variable.

The habitats of tropical lowland evergreen forest and montane evergreen forest have the highest single site species diversity while many habitats including rivers, palm forest, possible white sand forest, tropical deciduous forest edge, southern temperate forest, southern temperate forest edge, semihumid/humid montane scrub, and northern temperate grassland have the lowest single species diversity.

The variation between the highest and the lowest is extreme; ninety species can be found in the tropical lowland evergreen forests while only one species can be found at the habitats listed above.

This may be due in part to the fewer niches found in certain areas and therefore fewer places for the species to occupy.

Tyrannidae specialization among habitat is very strong in tropical lowland evergreen forests and montane evergreen forests. These habitat types therefore display the greatest specialization.

The counts differ by three species (tropical lowland evergreen forests have 49 endemic species and montane evergreen forests have 46 endemic species). It can be assumed that they both have similar levels of specialization.

Regionally, the South Atlantic Coast has a significantly higher species richness with the Manabí-Tumbes region following closely behind.

Protected status

The Northern Beardless Tyrannulet (Camptostoma imberbe) and the Rose-throated Becard (Pachyramphus aglaiae) are protected in the US under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

Species of Tyrant Flycatchers

Species in taxonomic order

There are about 429 species.

Genus Ornithion

  • White-lored Tyrannulet, Ornithion inerme
  • Yellow-bellied Tyrannulet, Ornithion semiflavum
  • Brown-capped Tyrannulet, Ornithion brunneicapillum

Genus Camptostoma

  • Northern Beardless Tyrannulet, Camptostoma imberbe
  • Southern Beardless Tyrannulet, Camptostoma obsoletum

Genus Myiopagis

  • Forest Elaenia, Myiopagis gaimardii
  • Foothill Elaenia, Myiopagis olallai
  • Gray Elaenia, Myiopagis caniceps
  • Pacific Elaenia, Myiopagis subplacens
  • Yellow-crowned Elaenia, Myiopagis flavivertex
  • Jamaican Elaenia, Myiopagis cotta
  • Greenish Elaenia, Myiopagis viridicata

Genus Pseudelaenia

  • Grey-and-white Tyrannulet, Pseudelaenia leucospodia
Tyrant Flycatchers Next to a Bush
Tyrant Flycatchers Next to a Bush

Genus Elaenia

  • Caribbean Elaenia, Elaenia martinica
  • Large Elaenia, Elaenia spectabilis
  • Yellow-bellied Elaenia, Elaenia flavogaster
  • Noronha Elaenia, Elaenia ridleyana
  • White-crested Elaenia, Elaenia albiceps
  • Small-billed Elaenia, Elaenia parvirostris
  • Slaty Elaenia, Elaenia strepera
  • Olivaceous Elaenia, Elaenia mesoleuca
  • Mottle-backed Elaenia, Elaenia gigas
  • Brownish Elaenia, Elaenia pelzelni
  • Plain-crested Elaenia, Elaenia cristata
  • Rufous-crowned Elaenia, Elaenia ruficeps
  • Lesser Elaenia, Elaenia chiriquensis
  • Mountain Elaenia, Elaenia frantzii
  • Highland Elaenia, Elaenia obscura
  • Great Elaenia, Elaenia dayi
  • Sierran Elaenia, Elaenia pallatangae
  • Greater Antillean Elaenia, Elaenia fallax

Genus Serpophaga

  • Torrent Tyrannulet, Serpophaga cinerea
  • Sooty Tyrannulet, Serpophaga nigricans
  • River Tyrannulet, Serpophaga hypoleuca
  • White-crested Tyrannulet, Serpophaga subcristata
  • White-bellied Tyrannulet, Serpophaga munda

Genus Mionectes

  • Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, Mionectes oleagineus
  • Streak-necked Flycatcher, Mionectes striaticollis
  • Olive-striped Flycatcher, Mionectes olivaceus
  • Gray-hooded Flycatcher, Mionectes rufiventris
  • MacConnell’s Flycatcher, Mionectes macconnelli

Genus Leptopogon

  • Rufous-breasted Flycatcher, Leptopogon rufipectus
  • Inca Flycatcher, Leptopogon taczanowskii
  • Sepia-capped Flycatcher, Leptopogon amaurocephalus
  • Slaty-capped Flycatcher, Leptopogon superciliaris

Genus Pseudotriccus

  • Bronze-olive Pygmy Tyrant, Pseudotriccus pelzelni
  • Hazel-fronted Pygmy Tyrant, Pseudotriccus simplex
  • Rufous-headed Pygmy Tyrant, Pseudotriccus ruficeps

Genus Phylloscartes

  • Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant, Phylloscartes ophthalmicus
  • Venezuelan Bristle Tyrant, Phylloscartes venezuelanus
  • Antioquia Bristle Tyrant, Phylloscartes lanyoni
  • Spectacled Bristle Tyrant, Phylloscartes orbitalis
  • Variegated Bristle Tyrant, Phylloscartes poecilotis
  • Southern Bristle Tyrant, Phylloscartes eximius
  • Black-fronted Tyrannulet, Phylloscartes nigrifrons
  • Chapman’s Bristle Tyrant, Phylloscartes chapmani
  • Ecuadorian Tyrannulet, Phylloscartes gualaquizae
  • Rufous-lored Tyrannulet, Phylloscartes flaviventris
  • Cinnamon-faced Tyrannulet, Phylloscartes parkeri
  • Minas Gerais Tyrannulet, Phylloscartes roquettei
  • Sao Paulo Tyrannulet, Phylloscartes paulistus
  • Oustalet’s Tyrannulet, Phylloscartes oustaleti
  • Restinga Tyrannulet, Phylloscartes kronei
  • Serra do Mar Tyrannulet, Phylloscartes difficilis
  • Alagoas Tyrannulet, Phylloscartes ceciliae
  • Mottle-cheeked Tyrannulet, Phylloscartes ventralis
  • Bahia Tyrannulet, Phylloscartes beckeri
  • Yellow-green Tyrannulet, Phylloscartes flavovirens
  • Olive-green Tyrannulet, Phylloscartes virescens
  • Rufous-browed Tyrannulet, Phylloscartes superciliaris
  • Bay-ringed Tyrannulet, Phylloscartes sylviolus


Genus Phyllomyias

  • Planalto Tyrannulet, Phyllomyias fasciatus
  • White-fronted Tyrannulet, Phyllomyias zeledoni
  • Rough-legged Tyrannulet, Phyllomyias burmeisteri
  • Greenish Tyrannulet, Phyllomyias virescens
  • Reiser’s Tyrannulet, Phyllomyias reiseri
  • Sclater’s Tyrannulet, Phyllomyias sclateri
  • Gray-capped Tyrannulet, Phyllomyias griseocapilla
  • Sooty-headed Tyrannulet, Phyllomyias griseiceps
  • Plumbeous-crowned Tyrannulet, Phyllomyias plumbeiceps
  • Black-capped Tyrannulet, Phyllomyias nigrocapillus
  • Ashy-headed Tyrannulet, Phyllomyias cinereiceps
  • Tawny-rumped Tyrannulet, Phyllomyias uropygialis

Genus Zimmerius

  • Mistletoe Tyrannulet or Paltry Tyrannulet, Zimmerius vilissimus,
  • Venezuelan Tyrannulet, Zimmerius improbus
  • Bolivian Tyrannulet, Zimmerius bolivianus
  • Red-billed Tyrannulet, Zimmerius cinereicapillus
  • Slender-footed Tyrannulet, Zimmerius gracilipes
  • Peruvian Tyrannulet, Zimmerius viridiflavus
  • Golden-faced Tyrannulet, Zimmerius chrysops

Genus Sublegatus

  • Amazonian Scrub Flycatcher, Sublegatus obscurior
  • Northern Scrub Flycatcher, Sublegatus arenarum
  • Southern Scrub Flycatcher, Sublegatus modestus

Genus Suiriri

  • Suiriri Flycatcher, Suiriri suiriri

Genus Mecocerculus

  • White-throated Tyrannulet, Mecocerculus leucophrys
  • White-tailed Tyrannulet, Mecocerculus poecilocercus
  • Buff-banded Tyrannulet, Mecocerculus hellmayri
  • Rufous-winged Tyrannulet, Mecocerculus calopterus
  • Sulphur-bellied Tyrannulet, Mecocerculus minor
  • White-banded Tyrannulet, Mecocerculus stictopterus

Genus Inezia

  • Slender-billed Tyrannulet, Inezia tenuirostris
  • Plain Tyrannulet, Inezia inornata
  • Pale-tipped Tyrannulet, Inezia subflava

Genus Stigmatura

  • Lesser Wagtail-tyrant, Stigmatura napensis
  • Greater Wagtail-tyrant, Stigmatura budytoides

Genus Uromyias

  • Agile Tit-tyrant, Uromyias agilis
  • Unstreaked Tit-tyrant, Uromyias agraphia

Genus Anairetes

  • Ash-breasted Tit-tyrant, Anairetes alpinus
  • Black-crested Tit-tyrant, Anairetes nigrocristatus
  • Pied-crested Tit-tyrant, Anairetes reguloides
  • Yellow-billed Tit-tyrant, Anairetes flavirostris
  • Juan Fernandez Tit-tyrant, Anairetes fernandezianus
  • Tufted Tit-Tyrant, Anairetes parulus

Many-colored Rush Tyrant, Tachuris rubrigastra

Sharp-tailed Tyrant, Culicivora caudacuta

Genus Polystictus

  • Bearded Tachuri, Polystictus pectoralis
  • Gray-backed Tachuri, Polystictus superciliaris

Genus Pseudocolopteryx

  • Crested Doradito, Pseudocolopteryx sclateri

Genus Euscarthmus

  • Tawny-crowned Pygmy Tyrant, Euscarthmus meloryphus
  • Rufous-sided Pygmy Tyrant, Euscarthmus rufomarginatus

Genus Myiornis

  • White-bellied Pygmy Tyrant, Myiornis albiventris
  • Eared Pygmy Tyrant, Myiornis auricularis
  • Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant, Myiornis atricapillus
  • Short-tailed Pygmy Tyrant, Myiornis ecaudatus

Genus Lophotriccus

  • Scale-crested Pygmy Tyrant, Lophotriccus pileatus
  • Double-banded Pygmy Tyrant, Lophotriccus vitiosus
  • Long-crested Pygmy Tyrant, Lophotriccus eulophotes
  • Helmeted Pygmy Tyrant, Lophotriccus galeatus
  • Pale-eyed Pygmy Tyrant, Lophotriccus pilaris

Genus Oncostoma

  • Northern Bentbill, Oncostoma cinereigulare
  • Southern Bentbill, Oncostoma olivaceum

Genus Poecilotriccus

  • Rufous-crowned Tody-tyrant, Poecilotriccus ruficeps
  • Slate-headed Tody-tyrant, Poecilotriccus sylvia
  • Black-and-white Tody-tyrant, Poecilotriccus capitalis
  • White-cheeked Tody-tyrant, Poecilotriccus albifacies

Black-chested Tyrant, Taeniotriccus andrei

Genus Hemitriccus

  • Snethlage’s Tody-tyrant, Hemitriccus minor
  • Boat-billed Tody-tyrant, Hemitriccus josephinae
  • Flammulated Bamboo Tyrant, Hemitriccus flammulatus
  • Drab-breasted Bamboo Tyrant, Hemitriccus diops
  • Brown-breasted Bamboo Tyrant, Hemitriccus obsoletus
  • White-eyed Tody-tyrant, Hemitriccus zosterops
  • Zimmer’s Tody-tyrant, Hemitriccus minimus
  • Eye-ringed Tody-tyrant, Hemitriccus orbitatus
  • Johannes’ Tody-tyrant, Hemitriccus iohannis
  • Stripe-necked Tody-tyrant, Hemitriccus striaticollis
  • Hangnest Tody-tyrant, Hemitriccus nidipendulus
  • Yungas Tody-tyrant, Hemitriccus spodiops
  • Pearly-vented Tody-tyrant, Hemitriccus margaritaceiventer
  • Pelzeln’s Tody-tyrant, Hemitriccus inornatus
  • Black-throated Tody-tyrant, Hemitriccus granadensis
  • Buff-throated Tody-tyrant, Hemitriccus rufigularis
  • Cinnamon-breasted Tody-tyrant, Hemitriccus cinnamomeipectus
  • Buff-breasted Tody-tyrant, Hemitriccus mirandae
  • Kaempfer’s Tody-tyrant, Hemitriccus kaempferi
  • Fork-tailed Tody-tyrant, Hemitriccus furcatus

Genus Todirostrum

  • Buff-cheeked Tody-Flycatcher, Todirostrum senex
  • Ruddy Tody-Flycatcher, Todirostrum russatum
  • Ochre-faced Tody-Flycatcher, Todirostrum plumbeiceps
  • Rusty-fronted Tody-Flycatcher, Todirostrum latirostre
  • Smoky-fronted Tody-Flycatcher, Todirostrum fumifrons
  • Spotted Tody-Flycatcher, Todirostrum maculatum
  • Yellow-lored Tody-Flycatcher, Todirostrum poliocephalum
  • Short-tailed Tody-Flycatcher, Todirostrum viridanum
  • Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Todirostrum nigriceps
  • Painted Tody-Flycatcher, Todirostrum pictum
  • Golden-winged Tody-Flycatcher, Todirostrum calopterum
  • Black-backed Tody-Flycatcher, Todirostrum pulchellum
  • Common Tody-Flycatcher or Black-fronted Tody-flycatcher, Todirostrum cinereum
  • Yellow-browed Tody-Flycatcher, Todirostrum chrysocrotaphum

Genus Corythopis

  • Ringed Antpipit, Corythopis torquata
  • Southern Antpipit, Corythopis delalandi

Brownish Flycatcher, Cnipodectes subbrunneus

Genus Ramphotrigon

  • Large-headed Flatbill, Ramphotrigon megacephala
  • Dusky-tailed Flatbill, Ramphotrigon fuscicauda
  • Rufous-tailed Flatbill, Ramphotrigon ruficauda

Genus Rhynchocyclus

  • Eye-ringed Flatbill, Rhynchocyclus brevirostris
  • Pacific Flatbill, Rhynchocyclus pacificus
  • Olivaceous Flatbill, Rhynchocyclus olivaceus
  • Fulvous-breasted Flatbill, Rhynchocyclus fulvipectus

Genus Tolmomyias

Genus Platyrinchus

  • Cinnamon-crested Spadebill, Platyrinchus saturatus
  • Stub-tailed Spadebill, Platyrinchus cancrominus
  • Yellow-throated Spadebill, Platyrinchus flavigularis
  • Golden-crowned Spadebill, Platyrinchus coronatus
  • White-throated Spadebill, Platyrinchus mystaceus
  • White-crested Spadebill, Platyrinchus platyrhynchos
  • Russet-winged Spadebill, Platyrinchus leucoryphus

Royal Flycatcher, Onychorhynchus coronatus

Ornate Flycatcher, Myiotriccus ornatus

Genus Myiophobus

  • Flavescent Flycatcher, Myiophobus flavicans
  • Orange-crested Flycatcher, Myiophobus phoenicomitra
  • Roraiman Flycatcher, Myiophobus roraimae
  • Unadorned Flycatcher, Myiophobus inornatus
  • Handsome Flycatcher, Myiophobus pulcher
  • Orange-banded Flycatcher, Myiophobus lintoni
  • Ochraceous-breasted Flycatcher, Myiophobus ochraceiventris
  • Bran-colored Flycatcher, Myiophobus fasciatus
  • Olive-chested Flycatcher, Myiophobus cryptoxanthus

Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher, Terenotriccus erythrurus

Genus Myiobius

  • Tawny-breasted Flycatcher, Myiobius villosus
  • Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher, Myiobius sulphureipygius
  • Whiskered Flycatcher, Myiobius barbatus
  • Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, Myiobius mastacalis
  • Black-tailed Flycatcher, Myiobius atricaudus

Cinnamon Tyrant, Neopipo cinnamomea

Cinnamon Flycatcher, Pyrrhomyias cinnamomea

Cliff Flycatcher, Hirundinea ferruginea

Fuscous Flycatcher, Cnemotriccus fuscatus

Genus Lathrotriccus

Genus Aphanotriccus: is a small genus of passerine birds in the tyrant flycatcher family. They breed in the Caribbean lowlands and foothills of Central America. There are just two species

Genus Xenotriccus

  • Belted Flycatcher, Xenotriccus callizonus
  • Pileated Flycatcher, Xenotriccus mexicanus

Genus Mitrephanes

Genus Contopus/ Pewees

Genus Empidonax

Genus SayornisVermilion Flycatcher, Pyrocephalus rubinus

Genus Silvicultrix

  • Jelski’s Chat-tyrant, Silvicultrix jelskii
  • Yellow-bellied Chat-tyrant, Silvicultrix diadema
  • Golden-browed Chat-tyrant, Silvicultrix pulchella

Genus Ochthoeca

  • Crowned Chat-tyrant, Ochthoeca frontalis
  • Peruvian Chat-tyrant, Ochthoeca spodionota
  • Slaty-backed Chat-tyrant, Ochthoeca cinnamomeiventris
  • Maroon-chested Chat-tyrant, Ochthoeca thoracica
  • Piura Chat-tyrant, Ochthoeca piurae
  • D’Orbigny’s Chat-tyrant, Ochthoeca oenanthoides
  • Rufous-breasted Chat-tyrant, Ochthoeca rufipectoralis
  • Brown-backed Chat-tyrant, Ochthoeca fumicolor
  • White-browed Chat-tyrant, Ochthoeca leucophrys

Tumbes Tyrant, Tumbezia salvini

Patagonian Tyrant, Colorhamphus parvirostris

Drab Water Tyrant, Ochthornis littoralis

Red-rumped Bush Tyrant, Cnemarchus erythropygius

Genus Myiotheretes

  • Streak-throated Bush Tyrant, Myiotheretes striaticollis
  • Santa Marta Bush Tyrant, Myiotheretes pernix
  • Smoky Bush Tyrant, Myiotheretes fumigatus
  • Rufous-bellied Bush Tyrant, Myiotheretes fuscorufus

Genus Xolmis

  • Fire-eyed Diucon, Xolmis pyrope
  • Gray Monjita, Xolmis cinerea
  • Black-crowned Monjita, Xolmis coronata
  • White-rumped Monjita, Xolmis velata
  • White Monjita, Xolmis irupero
  • Rusty-backed Monjita, Xolmis rubetra
  • Salinas Monjita, Xolmis salinarum
  • Black-and-white Monjita, Heteroxolmis dominicana
  • Chocolate-vented Tyrant, Neoxolmis rufiventris
Tyrant Flycatcher Perched on a Branch
Tyrant Flycatcher Perched on a Branch

Genus Agriornis

  • Black-billed Shrike-tyrant, Agriornis montana
  • White-tailed Shrike-tyrant, Agriornis andicola
  • Great Shrike-tyrant, Agriornis livida
  • Gray-bellied Shrike-tyrant, Agriornis microptera
  • Lesser Shrike-tyrant, Agriornis murina

Rufous-webbed Tyrant, Polioxolmis rufipennis

Genus Muscisaxicola

  • Spot-billed Ground Tyrant, Muscisaxicola maculirostris
  • Little Ground Tyrant, Muscisaxicola fluviatilis
  • Dark-faced Ground Tyrant, Muscisaxicola macloviana
  • Cinnamon-bellied Ground Tyrant, Muscisaxicola capistrata
  • Rufous-naped Ground Tyrant, Muscisaxicola rufivertex
  • Puna Ground Tyrant, Muscisaxicola juninensis
  • White-browed Ground Tyrant, Muscisaxicola albilora
  • Plain-capped Ground Tyrant, Muscisaxicola alpina
  • Cinereous Ground Tyrant, Muscisaxicola cinerea
  • White-fronted Ground Tyrant, Muscisaxicola albifrons
  • Ochre-naped Ground Tyrant, Muscisaxicola flavinucha
  • Black-fronted Ground Tyrant, Muscisaxicola frontalis
  • Short-tailed Field Tyrant, Muscigralla brevicauda

Genus Lessonia

  • Andean Negrito, Lessonia oreas
  • Austral Negrito, Lessonia rufa

Genus Knipolegus

  • Cinereous Tyrant, Knipolegus striaticeps
  • Hudson’s Black Tyrant, Knipolegus hudsoni
  • Amazonian Black Tyrant, Knipolegus poecilocercus
  • Andean Tyrant, Knipolegus signatus
  • Blue-billed Black Tyrant, Knipolegus cyanirostris
  • Rufous-tailed Tyrant, Knipolegus poecilurus
  • Riverside Tyrant, Knipolegus orenocensis
  • White-winged Black Tyrant, Knipolegus aterrimus
  • Caatinga Black Tyrant, Knipolegus franciscanus
  • Velvety Black Tyrant, Knipolegus nigerrimus
  • Crested Black Tyrant, Knipolegus lophotes

Spectacled Tyrant, Hymenops perspicillatus

Genus Fluvicola

White-headed Marsh Tyrant, Arundinicola leucocephala

Genus Alectrurus

  • Cock-tailed Tyrant, Alectrurus tricolor
  • Strange-tailed Tyrant, Alectrurus risora

Streamer-tailed Tyrant, Gubernetes yetapa

Yellow-browed Tyrant, Satrapa icterophrys

Long-tailed Tyrant, Colonia colonus

Cattle Tyrant, Machetornis rixosus

Shear-tailed Gray Tyrant, Muscipipra vetula

Genus Attila

Genus Casiornis

  • Rufous Casiornis, Casiornis rufa
  • Ash-throated Casiornis, Casiornis fusca

Sirystes, Sirystes sibilator

Genus Rhytipterna

  • Rufous Mourner, Rhytipterna holerythra
  • Grayish Mourner, Rhytipterna simplex
  • Pale-bellied Mourner, Rhytipterna immunda

Genus Myiarchus

Flammulated Flycatcher, Deltarhynchus flammulatus

Lesser Kiskadee, Philohydor lictor

Great Kiskadee, Pitangus sulphuratus

Boat-billed Flycatcher, Megarynchus pitangua

Genus Myiozetetes

Genus Conopias

  • White-ringed Flycatcher, Conopias albovittata
  • Three-striped Flycatcher, Conopias trivirgata
  • Yellow-throated Flycatcher, Conopias parva
  • Lemon-browed Flycatcher, Conopias cinchoneti

Genus Myiodynastes

  • Golden-bellied Flycatcher, Myiodynastes hemichrysus
  • Golden-crowned Flycatcher, Myiodynastes chrysocephalus
  • Baird’s Flycatcher, Myiodynastes bairdii
  • Streaked Flycatcher, Myiodynastes maculatus
  • Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Myiodynastes luteiventris

Piratic Flycatcher, Legatus leucophaius

White-bearded Flycatcher, Phelpsia inornata

Variegated Flycatcher, Empidonomus varius

Crowned Slaty Flycatcher, Griseotyrannus aurantioatrocristatus

Sulphury Flycatcher, Tyrannopsis sulphurea

Genus Tyrannus, kingbirds

Genus Schiffornis

  • Greater Schiffornis, Schiffornis major
  • Thrush-like Schiffornis, Schiffornis turdinus
  • Greenish Schiffornis, Schiffornis virescens

White-naped Xenopsaris, Xenopsaris albinucha

Genus Pachyramphus, becards

Genus Tityra


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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