Family Tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Least Concern

Plain-crested Elaenia (Elaenia cristata)


French: Élénie huppée German: Braunscheitel-Olivtyrann Spanish: Fiofío crestado

Elainea [sic] cristata


, 1868,

Goiás, Brazil


Sister to E. ruficeps (which see). Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • E. c. cristata Pelzeln, 1868 – Venezuela E of Andes, the Guianas, N, C & E Brazil (S to São Paulo; absent from W & C Amazon Basin) and extreme E Bolivia; isolated populations in SE Colombia (Caquetá, Vaupés), SE Peru (locally in Cuzco and Madre de Dios), W & N Bolivia (La Paz, Beni) and SW Amazonian Brazil.
  • E. c. alticola J. T. Zimmer & Phelps, Sr, 1946 – tepuis in SE Venezuela (SE Bolívar) and adjacent N Brazil.
  • Descriptive notes

    14·5 cm; 18 g. Small, very dull elaenia lacking white coronal patch; greatly elongated crown feathers forming conspicuous crest, usually held partially erect and tending to... read more


    Infrequent fast, gravelly “jer-jéhjeh”, sometimes repeated; dawn song a whistled “chev’a’rear”,... read more


    Closely tied to open habitats, especially natural savanna vegetation; open park-like savanna... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects and berries. Often conspicuously perched, with upright posture, in tops of shrubs or trees, alone or as loosely associated pair.... read more


    Season Aug–Dec in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Nest a cup of finely woven mosses covered with lichens, lined with plant wool, and attached... read more


    Resident in Venezuela. Possibly partially migratory in S Brazil, as numbers fluctuate in Mato... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly common to locally common; few records from Peru. Likely occurrence in E Colombia requires confirmation. Areas of dry forest... read more

    Recommended citation

    Hosner, P. (2019). Plain-crested Elaenia (Elaenia cristata). 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).