Family Tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Least Concern

Panama Flycatcher (Myiarchus panamensis)


French: Tyran du Panama German: Panamaschopftyrann Spanish: Copetón panameño

Myiarchus panamensis


, 1861,

#R, Atlantic slope of Canal Zone on Panama Railroad, Isthmus of Panama


Formerly treated as conspecific with M. ferox, but the two differ in vocalizations and do not respond to playback of each other’s voice; similarly, species-level separation from M. venezuelensis argued on basis of sympatry in extreme NW Venezuela (near Cerro Alto del Cedro) and in N Colombia (Cansoma, in Bolívar). Analyses of morphological characters and mtDNA#R indicate close affinities with those two species and with M. phaeocephalus, but precise relationships unclear. Ecological and genetic study in zones of parapatry and sympatry would be rewarding, and re-examination needed of geographical distributions of these taxa, especially S & E of L Maracaibo (W Venezuela). Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. p. actiosus Ridgway, 1906 – Pacific coast of Costa Rica (Gulf of Nicoya S to point N of Osa Peninsula).
  • M. p. panamensis Lawrence, 1861 – extreme SW Costa Rica (Rincón de Osa, Puerto Jiménez), Panama (Caribbean slope in W Bocas del Toro and from N Coclé E to San Blas, lowlands and foothills on Pacific coast, also Pearl Is, Coiba I, Taboga I and other smaller islands), N & W Colombia (E to Guajira Peninsula, S to Tumaco, in SW Nariño, lower Cauca Valley and upper Magdalena Valley at least to Neiva and Villavieja) and Maracaibo region of NW Venezuela; also recent records from NW Ecuador (N Esmeraldas).
  • Descriptive notes

    19 cm; 28·1–38·5 g. Relatively plain olive-backed Myiarchus with no rufous in tail, faint wingbars. Nominate race is greyish-olive above, centres... read more


    Repeated hiccups (normally disyllabic), rasping whistles and rolls in response to intruding... read more


    Tropical deciduous forest, gallery forest, secondary forest, mangrove forest and arid lowland scrub... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects and fruit; grass “berries” in edge habitat. Hawks flying insects from open perches; sallies to snatch prey from... read more


    Breeds late Mar to early Jun; possibly later, May–July, in upper Magdalena Valley (Colombia), as suggested by pre-breeding moult... read more


    Presumably sedentary; possibly minor altitudinal movement in Colombia.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Uncommon to fairly common; uncommon in E Panama (Darién). Reported since 2012 from coastal N Ecuador, where either a recent... read more

    Recommended citation

    Joseph, L. (2019). Panama Flycatcher (Myiarchus panamensis). 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 22 November 2019).