Family Tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Least Concern

Greater Pewee (Contopus pertinax)


French: Moucherolle de Coues German: Mexikoschnäppertyrann Spanish: Pibí tengofrío

C[ontopus]. pertinax

Cabanis and Heine

, 1860,

#R, Jalapa, Veracruz, Mexico


Formerly placed in Myiochanes. Closely related to C. lugubris and C. fumigatus, and formerly treated as a race of latter. Geographical plumage variation slight and clinal, but populations also differ in voice: further study needed. Pale-bellied birds from N of range sometimes separated as race pallidiventris, but better merged with nominate. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. p. pertinax Cabanis & Heine, 1860 – SW USA (C & SW Arizona, SW New Mexico) and W & C Mexico (S to Isthmus of Tehuantepec); winters S to Guatemala.
  • C. p. minor (W. deW. Miller & Griscom, 1925) – S Mexico (mainly E of Isthmus of Tehuantepec), Guatemala and Belize S to NC Nicaragua.
  • Descriptive notes

    17–19 cm; 27 g. Has indistinct pale supraloral area and dark lores; crown dark grey to greyish-olive, tufted; rest of head and nape and upperparts drab grey to greyish-... read more


    Call “pip-pip-pip” or “beek beek beek”, similar to that of congeners; call of race minor... read more


    Breeds in pine (Pinus) and pine-oak (Pinus-Quercus) woodland in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects during breeding season; some fruit in winter. Forages in erect stance from exposed perch (e.g. end of dead branch, top of pine);... read more


    May–Jul; pair-forming in Mar in El Salvador. Cup-nest made of grass, bark, pine needles, pine cones, oak catkins and contour feathers... read more


    Partial short-distance migrant. N populations migrate S in winter; leave SE Arizona breeding... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common to fairly common. Global population estimated at 2,000,000 individuals. Densities in mountains of SE Arizona low, 0·05–0·17 birds/ha;... read more

    Recommended citation

    Farnsworth, A. & Lebbin, D. (2019). Greater Pewee (Contopus pertinax). 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 7 December 2019).