Family Tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Least Concern

Piratic Flycatcher (Legatus leucophaius)


French: Tyran pirate German: Kurzschnabel-Maskentyrann Spanish: Mosquero pirata

Platyrhynchos leucophaius


, 1818,



Races indistinguishable on coloration alone; probably meet in Honduras, although precise limits not well known. Birds from S Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina described as race albicollis, but merely average somewhat larger. Two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. l. variegatus (P. L. Sclater, 1857) – E Mexico (S San Luis Potosí E to Tabasco, N & C Campeche and Quintana Roo to N Oaxaca and N Chiapas) to N & C Guatemala, Belize and N & E Honduras.
  • L. l. leucophaius (Vieillot, 1818) – Nicaragua S to Panama and Colombia, then E to Venezuela and the Guianas, Trinidad and Tobago, and S through Ecuador, Peru, NW & C Brazil (S to Mato Grosso and N Rio Grande do Sul) and N & E Bolivia to C & E Paraguay and N Argentina (Salta, Jujuy and Tucumán; E Formosa, E Chaco, Corrientes and Misiones).
  • Descriptive notes

    14·5–17 cm; 19–26 g. Has forehead and crown blackish, semi-concealed yellow coronal patch; prominent and fairly broad supercilia, confluent on forehead and... read more


    Rather conspicuous vocally during breeding period; male song, often repeated tirelessly from... read more


    Tall second growth and gallery forest, lighter humid woodland and evergreen forest borders, edges... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, e.g. dragonflies (Odonata); also fruit. Adults said to be almost entirely frugivorous, with copious small berries and green... read more


    Breeding times require further documentation: in Venezuela, birds in breeding condition by Feb (Barinas), Mar–Apr (S & E Bol... read more


    At least partially migratory in both N & S parts of range. Although details not well known, it... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Uncommon to fairly common. Has large range covering most of Middle America and most of N & C South America. Occurs in many... read more

    Recommended citation

    Mobley, J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Piratic Flycatcher (Legatus leucophaius). 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 25 February 2020).