Family Tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Least Concern

Dusky-capped Flycatcher (Myiarchus tuberculifer)


French: Tyran olivâtre German: Schwarzkappen-Schopftyrann Spanish: Copetón capirotado

T[yrannus]. tuberculifer

d’Orbigny and Lafresnaye

, 1837,

Guarayos, Santa Cruz, Bolivia


Almost certainly more than one species involved. Phylogenetic analysis of mtDNA#R indicates that those Mexican and Panamanian populations examined are more closely related to M. barbirostris than to most South American populations of present species; populations of nominate race from Argentina, lowland Ecuador and Guyana formed a well-supported clade. Taxonomic status of atriceps particularly doubtful: birds from N extremity of range (Ecuador) closely related to Mexican and Panamanian populations of platyrhynchus (sensu lato) and nigricapillus, whereas those from S extremity (Argentina) closer to nominate; furthermore, there are minor but constant morphological differences in plumage and size between N (Ecuador, Peru, N Bolivia) and S populations; molecular diversity in C part of range in Bolivia needs study in order to understand patterns of diversity and assess merit of giving atriceps species rank. In addition, races intergrade widely and differences described in unsatisfactory terms of dorsal shading. Long-overdue revision needed, including thorough reassessment of variation in Middle and North American populations. Thirteen subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. t. olivascens Ridgway, 1884 – SW USA (C & SE Arizona, SW New Mexico) and NW Mexico (NW Chihuahua S in mountains to E Sinaloa, W Durango and N Nayarit); winters W & S Mexico (S Sonora S to Santa Efigenia, in Oaxaca).
  • M. t. querulus Nelson, 1904 – SW Mexico from S Sinaloa S, including Tres Marías Is, to Oaxaca.
  • M. t. lawrenceii (Giraud, 1841) – E Mexico (Nuevo León S to Tabasco and Chiapas) S to highlands of Guatemala and El Salvador.
  • M. t. manens Parkes, 1982 – E Mexico (E Tabasco E to Yucatán and Quintana Roo) and N Belize.
  • M. t. platyrhynchus Ridgway, 1885 – Cozumel I, off NE Yucatán Peninsula.
  • M. t. connectens W. deW. Miller & Griscom, 1925 – W Belize and N Guatemala S to N & C Nicaragua.
  • M. t. littoralis J. T. Zimmer, 1953 – Pacific coast of Nicaragua and NW Costa Rica.
  • M. t. nigricapillus Cabanis, 1861 – extreme SE Nicaragua, Costa Rica (except extreme NW) and W Panama.
  • M. t. brunneiceps Lawrence, 1861 – E Panama (E from Canal Zone) and NW & W Colombia (Chocó and Antioquia S through Cauca and Magdalena Valleys to Valle and Huila).
  • M. t. pallidus J. T. Zimmer & Phelps, Sr, 1946 – N & NE Colombia (Córdoba to Guajira and Norte de Santander) and W & N Venezuela (N of R Orinoco).
  • M. t. tuberculifer (d’Orbigny & Lafresnaye, 1837) – lowland Amazonia (except much of SE), also Trinidad, and SE Brazil (Pernambuco and Bahia to Rio de Janeiro).
  • M. t. nigriceps P. L. Sclater, 1860 – SW Colombia (upper Cauca Valley) S to W Ecuador (S to Guayas and Chimborazo).
  • M. t. atriceps Cabanis, 1883 – S Ecuador S in Andes to Argentina (S to Tucumán).
  • Descriptive notes

    15–17 cm; male 16·4–25 g, 18·0–27 g (atriceps), male 18–24 g and female 14·2–23 g (combined samples of nominate, pallidus,... read more


    All races emit a distinctive plaintive whistle, “wheeeeu”, fading at end. Male gives territorial... read more


    Usually in dry, moist or humid forest (tropical lowland forest, montane evergreen forest), forest... read more

    Food and feeding

    Arthropods, including grasshoppers (Orthoptera), termites (Isoptera), flies (Diptera), damselflies (Zygoptera), mayflies (Ephemeroptera),... read more


    Season mid-May to late Jul in USA; laying mid-Apr to mid-Jun in Mexico, Central America and Trinidad; in South America, breeds Mar–... read more


    Mainly resident. Some local (perhaps primarily altitudinal) movements in N (race olivascens... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon to abundant. In many regions the most common and widespread Myiarchus flycatcher. Estimated global population 20,000,000... read more

    Recommended citation

    Joseph, L. (2020). Dusky-capped Flycatcher (Myiarchus tuberculifer). 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 19 February 2020).