Family Tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Least Concern

Rufous-browed Tyrannulet (Phylloscartes superciliaris)


French: Tyranneau à sourcils roux German: Weißwangen-Laubtyrann Spanish: Orejerito cejirrufo

Leptotriccus superciliaris

P. L. Sclater and Salvin

, 1868,

Chitrá, Veraguas, Panama


In past, placed in Mecocerculus. Vocal similarities and plumage (rufous above lores) suggest it may be a member of the “P. flaviventris group” (which see). Geographical variation minor; validity of races impossible to assess, as so few specimens available. Three subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. s. superciliaris (P. L. Sclater & Salvin, 1868) – forested mountains of Costa Rica and W Panama.
  • P. s. palloris (Griscom, 1935) – E Panama (Darién) and NW Colombia#R.
  • P. s. griseocapillus Phelps, Sr & Phelps, Jr, 1952 – very locally in Sierra de Perijá (along Venezuela–Colombia border), N Colombian Andes, and E slopes in E (recent sight record from Napo) & SE Ecuador (Cordillera de Cutucú, Cordillera del Cóndor) and adjacent N Peru.
  • Descriptive notes

    12 cm; 7–8 g. Nominate race has pearly grey crown, bright chestnut frontal band and narrow supercilium, pure white spot at base of bill, white auricular patch... read more


    Calls and sings frequently, with lively series of sharp, high pitched notes, “swee-swee-swee”;... read more


    Humid montane forest, occasionally venturing to forest edges and treefall openings; at 600–... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects; small fruits (Miconia, Trema) sometimes taken. Almost always forages in pairs or small family parties, in mixed-... read more


    No confirmed data; believed to breed in Mar–Jun in Costa Rica.



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon to fairly common, and very local. A poorly known species. Occurs in Rancho Naturalista and Río Negro Jaguar Reserve, both in Costa Rica.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fitzpatrick, J. (2020). Rufous-browed Tyrannulet (Phylloscartes superciliaris). 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 19 February 2020).