Family Tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Least Concern

Mountain Elaenia (Elaenia frantzii)


French: Élénie montagnarde German: Nordanden-Olivtyrann Spanish: Fiofío montano

Elainea [sic] Frantzii


, 1865,

San José, Costa Rica


Central American races may be a separate species from the two South American ones, as suggested by strong difference between dawn song of nominate (no recordings of ultima found) vs that of pudica and browni, a repeated “cheeh-rr-eéh...chee-rr-eéh...chee-rr-eéh...” (an overslurred whistle followed by rising burry part and a higher-pitched second overslurred note) vs “whéerr-heeh” and “whéerr-heeh-brrrr” in various combinations (an overslurred note with burry descending leg followed by a well-separated underslurred note, sometimes with gurgling ending rattle)#R; morphologically all taxa very similar, but South American two may average smaller-billed. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • E. f. ultima Griscom, 1935 – mountains of Guatemala, Honduras and N El Salvador.
  • E. f. frantzii Lawrence, 1865 – Northern Mountain Elaenia – mountains of NC Nicaragua and Costa Rica to W Panama (Veraguas).
  • E. f. pudica P. L. Sclater, 1871 – Southern Mountain Elaenia – Andes of Colombia and NW Venezuela (N to Lara) and mountains of N Venezuela (Falcón and Yaracuy E to Sucre and N Monagas).
  • E. f. browni Bangs, 1898 – Santa Marta Mts (N Colombia) and Sierra de Perijá (on NE Colombia–NW Venezuela border).
  • Descriptive notes

    14 cm; 17 g. Medium sized, dull brownish-olive elaenia with rounded head, no coronal patch. Nominate race is olive-brown above, face paler, distinct yellowish eyering; wings... read more


    Whistled “peee-oo” or “twee-oo” and more drawn-out “peee-err” or “speeeer”; prolonged dawn song... read more


    Open humid to semi-humid forest, forest edge, overgrown clearings, light second growth, hedgerows... read more

    Food and feeding

    Fruits and insects; possibly more frugivorous than many others of genus. Forages from low to high levels, usually keeping to denser foliage... read more


    Mar–Nov, but Apr–Jun in Costa Rica; nestlings in Aug in Colombia. Nest built by female, a neat, compact cup of rootlets, mosses... read more


    Resident in some areas, but seasonal movements occur, perhaps in response to variations in fruit... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon to very common. The commonest tyrannid in W Chiriquí highlands, in Panama. Occurs in Rancho Naturalista, in Costa Rica, Tambito Nature... read more

    Recommended citation

    Hosner, P. (2019). Mountain Elaenia (Elaenia frantzii). 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 13 December 2019).