Family Tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Least Concern

Brownish Twistwing (Cnipodectes subbrunneus)


French: Tyranneau brun German: Drehschwingentyrann Spanish: Mosquero pardo

Cyclorhynchus subbrunneus

P. L. Sclater

, 1860,

Babahoyo, Los Ríos, Ecuador


Races poorly differentiated; birds from E Panama and NW Colombia sometimes separated as race panamensis, but no visible differences in plumage from nominate. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. s. subbrunneus (P. L. Sclater, 1860) – C & E Panama, NC & W Colombia and W Ecuador.
  • C. s. minor P. L. Sclater, 1884 – W Amazon from SE Colombia and E Ecuador S to E Peru, W Brazil (E to R Negro and lower R Madeira) and extreme NW Bolivia (NW Pando).
  • Descriptive notes

    14–18 cm. Dull brown tyrannid with long and prominent rictal bristles. Male has dull brown head, buff loral spot; upperparts dull brown, wings darker or duskier, wing-... read more


    Call a sharp, somewhat nasal whistle, “kuuuu-wit”, usually doubled and occasionally... read more


    Lower growth of humid and deciduous forest, secondary woodland; favours shady areas with many vines... read more

    Food and feeding

    Little known. Insects. Usually solitary and often highly sedentary; rarely joins mixed flocks. Rather unsuspicious. Frequently slowly... read more


    In Colombia, Jan–Apr in W (N Antioquia, Chocó) and Jun in S (W Caquetá). Possibly occurs in scattered leks; use of... read more


    Probably resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Rare to uncommon in most of range; locally fairly common in Panama and E Ecuador. Appears to be fairly widespread. Numerous along Pipeline Road (... read more

    Recommended citation

    Farnsworth, A. & Lebbin, D. (2019). Brownish Twistwing (Cnipodectes subbrunneus). 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 6 December 2019).