Family Tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Least Concern

Short-crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus ferox)


French: Tyran féroce German: Kurzschopftyrann Spanish: Copetón feroz

[Muscicapa] ferox

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,



Formerly included M. venezuelensis and M. panamensis (which see). Geographical variation in present species complicated and poorly understood; further study needed. Plumage differentiation among races slight, and vast zones of intergradation currently recognized; populations in hybrid zone between nominate and brunnescens thought by some earlier authors to be migrant australis, but this is refuted by their having different breeding and moult schedules (many intermediate birds, however, distinguishable from australis only through these differences in timing). Three subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. f. brunnescens J. T. Zimmer & Phelps, Sr, 1946 – core range a narrow belt of llanos in SW Venezuela (Táchira and Portuguesa E to NW Bolívar) and extreme NE Colombia (Arauca).
  • M. f. ferox (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) – Amazon Basin (from E slopes of Andes in S Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and N Bolivia) E to E & S Venezuela, the Guianas and Brazil.
  • M. f. australis Hellmayr, 1927 – lowlands from SE Bolivia, C Brazil (through S Mato Grosso, S Goiás, S Minas Gerais) and S through drainages of R Paraguay, R Paraná and R Uruguay to Argentina (S to S Corrientes) and extreme SW Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil); possibly also N & W Uruguay.
  • Descriptive notes

    18 cm; male 21–33 g, female 23·5–34 g. A generally larger, dark-tailed, slightly crested Myiarchus, noticeably sooty-grey to darkish olive-green above.... read more


    Short, slowly vibrato-modulated whistles given infrequently during foraging; vocal response to... read more


    Clearings in forested areas, woodland borders, cerrado, várzea, igapó,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects and fruits; recorded food items in Surinam beetles (Coleoptera), hemipterans, including heteropteran stink or assassin bugs (... read more


    Nominate race and australis breed mainly Jul–Dec; nests with eggs in Surinam populations currently ascribed to nominate... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common to common. Estimated population density in primary successional habitat in Peru 56·5 birds/100 ha (both in monocultures of Tessaria... read more

    Recommended citation

    Joseph, L. (2019). Short-crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus ferox). 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 12 December 2019).