Family Tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Least Concern

Lesser Elaenia (Elaenia chiriquensis)


French: Élénie menue German: Grauwangen-Olivtyrann Spanish: Fiofío belicoso

Elainea [sic] Chiriquensis


, 1865,

near David, Chiriquí, Panama


Until recently considered conspecific with E. brachyptera (which see). In past, sometimes treated as conspecific with E. ridleyana, but voices very different. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • E. c. chiriquensis Lawrence, 1865 – tropical zone of SW Costa Rica and Pacific slope of W Panama E to Canal Zone, including Coiba I and Pearl Is (also on Caribbean slope in C Colón).
  • E. c. albivertex Pelzeln, 1868 – N, C & E Colombia, Venezuela, Trinidad, the Guianas, scattered localities throughout N, E & C Brazil (S to São Paulo; apparently absent from upper Amazon Basin), E Peru, N & E Bolivia, Paraguay and NW & NE Argentina.
  • Descriptive notes

    13·5–14 cm; 11·5–22·1 g. Small, nondescript elaenia, slightly elongated crown feathers producing square-shaped crest. Nominate race has head... read more


    Commonest call a clear, whistled “weeééa”; other calls include burry... read more


    Open country; found in dry scrub, cerrado, river-island scrub, brushy river margins,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Berries and insects, with fruit predominant in diet in C Brazilian study, where Miconia sp. (Melastomataceae) most frequent... read more


    Season from Mar in Costa Rica, mid Jan to Apr, once Jul (peak Feb–early Mar) in C Panama, plus nest with eggs in early May in W... read more


    Resident and migrant populations, with both probably occurring in Amazonia. Those breeding in S... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Uncommon to locally common; rather rare in Trinidad, rare and local in Suriname, and just one record in French Guiana (in Apr 2007).... read more

    Recommended citation

    Hosner, P., Christie, D.A., de Juana, E. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Lesser Elaenia (Elaenia chiriquensis). 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 12 December 2019).