Family Tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Least Concern

Mottle-backed Elaenia (Elaenia gigas)


French: Élénie écaillée German: Schuppenolivtyrann Spanish: Fiofío gigante

Elainea [sic] gigas

P. L. Sclater

, 1871,

Río Napo, Ecuador




E base of Andes from S Colombia (S from W Meta) S to W Bolivia (W Santa Cruz).

Descriptive notes

18 cm. Large elaenia with prominent bifurcated crest and large white coronal patch, often looks “horned”. Plumage is otherwise olive-brown above, faint whitish... read more


Frequent calls a martin-like “direet” and a shrill “pert-chéér... read more


Successional forest habitats in tropical to upper tropical zones, including riparian growth and... read more

Food and feeding

Insects and small fruits. Perches upright, often on exposed branches, distinctive crest almost always raised; usually appears conspicuous,... read more


Birds with enlarged gonads in Oct–Nov. A nest in Ecuador had two nestlings in Oct; nest was 13 m above ground in the canopy of a 15-m... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Rare to locally fairly common. Occurs in Tinigua National Park, in Colombia, Podocarpus National Park and Kapawi and Yuturi Lodges,... read more

Recommended citation

Hosner, P. (2019). Mottle-backed Elaenia (Elaenia gigas). 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).