Family Tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Least Concern

Rufous-crowned Elaenia (Elaenia ruficeps)


French: Élénie tête-de-feu German: Rostnacken-Olivtyrann Spanish: Fiofío crestirrufo

Elainea [sic] ruficeps


, 1868,

Borba, Brazil


Considered closest to E. cristata on basis of nostril structure and wing formula (despite significant differences in plumage and behaviour); sister relationship strongly supported by genetic data#R. Monotypic.


Very local in SE Colombia (Meta E to Guainía and Vaupés), SE Venezuela (Bolívar, Amazonas), the Guianas and N Brazil (N Roraima, N Amapá, both sides of middle and lower Amazon, and along R Cururu in S Pará).

Descriptive notes

14·5 cm; 19 g. Small elaenia with rather distinctive plumage, slight crest. Has semi-concealed rufous patch on crown (sometimes exposed towards back of head, in the field... read more


Song an odd, low-pitched jumble or rattle, given singly at irregular and widely spaced intervals, “... read more


Stunted white-sand forest, savanna with scattered bushes and spiny palms, edges of woodland or... read more

Food and feeding

Insects, also small fruits. Often found in pairs 1–8 m up in vegetation; perches upright at edges or tops of shrubs, from time to... read more


Nest found in Aug in French Guiana; birds with enlarged gonads in Feb–Apr in Colombia. One nest described, a cup of twigs and plant... read more


Apparently resident.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Uncommon to locally common; range highly fragmented. Occurs in Jaú National Park and Maracá Ecological Station, in Brazil. Sandy-soil habitats have... read more

Recommended citation

Hosner, P. (2020). Rufous-crowned Elaenia (Elaenia ruficeps). 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 18 January 2020).