Family Tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Least Concern

Sooty Tyrannulet (Serpophaga nigricans)


French: Tyranneau noirâtre German: Rußkleintyrann Spanish: Piojito gris

Sylvia nigricans


, 1817,



Perhaps closest to S. cinerea#R. Monotypic.


S Bolivia (Tarija), Paraguay and SE Brazil (S from Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo; recently recorded in CE Tocantins#R) S to C Argentina (S to Río Negro) and Uruguay.

Descriptive notes

12 cm; 9 g. Plumage is uniformly dark grey to brownish-grey above, crown slightly darker, semi-concealed white crownstripe; wings dusky grey, two indistinct paler grey... read more


Song a few staccato notes, followed by higher, sweet, “canary-like” notes.


Almost always near water, most often along rocky or brushy margins of streams and rivers, also... read more

Food and feeding

Insects. Very active, restlessly flitting from perch to perch on rocks or branches, rarely to ground. Sallies into air, to ground and to... read more


Oct–Dec. Nest, built by both sexes, a tightly woven open cup or basket up to 10 cm deep, 4 cm wide, of roots and grasses, lined with... read more


Uncertain; apparently resident over most of range, but populations in extreme S possibly migrate N... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Uncommon. Occurs in many national parks and other protected areas throughout its range, e.g. Ybycuí National Park, in Paraguay... read more

Recommended citation

Fitzpatrick, J. (2019). Sooty Tyrannulet (Serpophaga nigricans). 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 7 December 2019).