Family Tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Least Concern

Masked Water-tyrant (Fluvicola nengeta)


French: Moucherolle aquatique German: Graurücken-Wassertyrann Spanish: Viudita enmascarada
Other common names: Ecuadorian Water-tyrant (atripennis)

[Lanius] Nengeta


, 1766,



Races geographically remote from each other, sometimes suggested as representing distinct species; but differences appear non-existent in morphometrics and voice and trivial in plumage, atripennis having slightly blacker wings, usually with white tips to tertials (this distinction inconstant). Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • F. n. atripennis P. L. Sclater, 1860 – SW Colombia (Nariño)#R, W Ecuador (S from Esmeraldas) S to extreme NW Peru (Tumbes).
  • F. n. nengeta (Linnaeus, 1766) – E & S Brazil from E Pará and Tocantins E to Rio Grande do Norte, S to Mato Grosso do Sul and Santa Catarina; also recently expanding to NE Argentina (Misiones) and SE Paraguay#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    14·5–15 cm. Plumage is mostly white, with contrasting black eyestripe, black wings and white-tipped black tail; back tinged brownish-grey; iris dark, bill and... read more


    Call a sharp “kirt!”, often given in flight; song a repeated, soft “dewdelewdel-... read more


    Lowland semi-open shrubby areas near fresh water, especially in marshy areas and rice fields in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects. Usually singly or in pairs, generally tame and conspicuous. Forages mainly on or near ground; runs on floating vegetation; makes... read more


    Little known. Dis­playing birds face each other with tail spread and raised, bobbing up and down; male sometimes fans tail and spreads... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly common. Appears to be spreading S in Brazil as a result of deforestation; since 1950s recorded at a number of new localities (... read more

    Recommended citation

    Farnsworth, A., Langham, G. & Bonan, A. (2019). Masked Water-tyrant (Fluvicola nengeta). 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).