Family Tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Least Concern

Southern Tropical Pewee (Contopus cinereus)


French: Moucherolle cendré German: Dunkel-Waldschnäppertyrann Spanish: Pibí tropical sureño

Platyrhynchus cinereus


, 1825,

“in sylvis flum. Amazonum”; error = Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Hitherto treated as conspecific with C. bogotensis and until recently also C. punensis (see under those species). Race canescens of C. nigrescens (which see) formerly included in present species. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. c. pallescens (Hellmayr, 1927) – SC & E Brazil (S Maranhão to Pernambuco, S to Mato Grosso do Sul) S to NE Paraguay, E Bolivia and NW Argentina (S to Tucumán); also rare migrant, probably this race, in SE Peru#R.
  • C. c. cinereus (Spix, 1825) – SE Paraguay, SE Brazil (SE Bahia to Santa Catarina) and NE Argentina (Misiones).
  • Descriptive notes

    13–14·5 cm; 10–15 g. Nominate race has peaked crown with slight crest; is dark sooty grey above and below; two indistinct paler wingbars, grey throat, tiny... read more


    Calls in E Brazil a typical and repeated “pip-pip-pip” or “bit-bit-bit”,... read more


    Light and secondary woodland, plantations, semi-deciduous forest borders and other semi-open wooded... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects. Usually observed alone or in pairs. Searches from exposed perch at low to middle levels in open areas or along forest border;... read more


    Nests (two) found in Oct and Nov in Argentina. Male display involves squatting, jumping, and flicking of wings and tail, reminiscent of... read more


    Mainly resident, but race pallescens moves N during austral winter, apparently reaching as... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally fairly common, but rare locally, e.g. in S Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina). Occurs in many national parks and... read more

    Recommended citation

    Farnsworth, A., Lebbin, D. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Southern Tropical Pewee (Contopus cinereus). 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 11 December 2019).