Family Tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Least Concern

Paltry Tyrannulet (Zimmerius vilissimus)


French: Tyranneau gobemoucheron German: Weißstreif-Kleintyrann Spanish: Mosquerito nimio

Elainia [sic] vilissima

P. L. Sclater and Salvin

, 1859,

Cobán, Guatemala


Until recently considered conspecific with Z. parvus#R (which see), and previously also with Z. improbus (which see). Monotypic.


S Mexico (Chiapas), S Guatemala, S Belize and W El Salvador.

Descriptive notes

11–12 cm. Small, short-tailed tyrannulet. Broad white supercilia meeting above bill; crown dark brownish grey, upperparts bright olive; wings dusky, wing-coverts, inner... read more


Persistent series of downslurred whistled “pee-areet” or “pyeu” notes... read more


Humid montane forest (including pines in Guatemala), forest borders, tall second growth with... read more

Food and feeding

Insects; mistletoe (Loranthaceae) and other small berries regularly eaten. Forages singly or in pairs, often following mixed-species flocks... read more


Apparently no information, but a female collected in late Apr in El Salvador had a brood patch.


Resident; many descend to lower elevations in winter (see Habitat).

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally fairly common to common, being one of the commonest birds in Cerro El Amay Important Bird Area, Quiché, Guatemala,... read more

Recommended citation

Fitzpatrick, J., Christie, D.A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Paltry Tyrannulet (Zimmerius vilissimus). 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 10 December 2019).