Family Tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Least Concern

Highland Elaenia (Elaenia obscura)


French: Élénie obscure German: Hochland-Olivtyrann Spanish: Fiofío oscuro

M[uscipeta]. obscura

d’Orbigny and Lafresnaye

, 1837,

Yungas of Bolivia


Hitherto treated as conspecific with E. sordida (which see). Monotypic.


E slope of Andes from S Ecuador (Azuay, Loja) S to Bolivia and NW Argentina (S to Tucumán).

Descriptive notes

16–18 cm; 14·7–29 g. Large, dark, small-headed elaenia lacking crest and pale coronal patch, appearing short-billed and long-tailed. Considerable... read more


Song shows some variation, but always contains a similar “weehr-drrrr-whee” phrase (... read more


Edges and undergrowth of humid forest and secondary woodland, including dry forest and stunted... read more

Food and feeding

Insects and berries. Often perches upright high in canopy, on outer branches 1–2 m below treetop; usually solitary and inconspicuous... read more


Season Oct–Feb (fledglings in Feb) in Bolivia, and mainly Dec–Jan in NW Argentina. Nest a simple neat cup 8–9 cm in... read more


None definitely recorded, but local movements suspected in Bolivia.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Rare to fairly common and local; rare and very local in Ecuador. Can be found in any protected area along E Andean slope from Peru S... read more

Recommended citation

Hosner, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Highland Elaenia (Elaenia obscura). 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 8 December 2019).