Family Tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Least Concern

Brown-backed Chat-tyrant (Ochthoeca fumicolor)


French: Pitajo à dos brun German: Fahlbrauen-Schmätzertyrann Spanish: Pitajo dorsipardo

Ochthoëca fumicolor

P. L. Sclater

, 1856,

Bogotá, Colombia


Hitherto treated as conspecific with O. superciliosa (which see). Birds from Cochabamba may represent a separate race, as yet undescribed. Four subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • O. f. fumicolor P. L. Sclater, 1856 – Andes of SW Venezuela (S Táchira) and N part of E cordillera in Colombia (S to Cundinamarca).
  • O. f. ferruginea J. T. Zimmer, 1937 – N part of C & W Andes of Colombia (Antioquia).
  • O. f. brunneifrons Berlepsch & Stolzmann, 1896 – C & W Andes of Colombia (S from Caldas and Cauca) S to N & C Peru (on W slope to Cajamarca and on E slope to Junín).
  • O. f. berlepschi Hellmayr, 1914 – SE Peru (Cuzco, Puno) and W & C Bolivia (La Paz, Cochabamba).
  • Descriptive notes

    14·5–16 cm; 16–19 g. Flat-headed appearance. Nominate race has frontal area and supercilium whitish, becoming more ochraceous behind eye; crown warm brown... read more


    Usually quiet, but call a high-pitched “tsiu” or soft “prip”; clear... read more


    Shrub-bordered pastures, montane forest and semi-humid Polylepis woodland at or above... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects. Usually singly, or pair-members widely scattered; often territorial. Perches on thick branches (rarely more than 2 m above ground... read more


    Season Feb–Sept in C & E Andes of Colombia, and nest in Dec (Boyacá); nest in S Ecuador in mid Oct; moult (presumed post-... read more


    Resident; some seasonal or local altitudinal movement suspected because of records at lower... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly common to common. Occurs in all national parks at appropriate elevations in Colombia and Ecuador (except Cotacachi-Cayapas), R... read more

    Recommended citation

    Farnsworth, A., Langham, G. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Brown-backed Chat-tyrant (Ochthoeca fumicolor). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 11 December 2019).