Family Tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Least Concern

Variegated Flycatcher (Empidonomus varius)


French: Tyran tacheté German: Schuppenrücken-Maskentyrann Spanish: Tuquito rayado

Muscicapa varia


, 1818,



Races differ in migratory behaviour, and may represent two species; study required. Birds from N Venezuela (Carabobo) and E Colombia previously separated as race septentrionalis, supposedly darker above with heavier streaking below, but indistinguishable from nominate; probably relate to migrants from S. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • E. v. rufinus (Spix, 1825) – Northern Variegated Flycatcher – Venezuela (E base of Andes in Portuguesa and Barinas, E Falcón and N cordilleras E to Sucre and Delta Amacuro, also throughout Bolívar and Amazonas), the Guianas and N & E Brazil (E to Pará and SE to Bahia, S along R Madeira to near border with Bolivia).
  • E. v. varius (Vieillot, 1818) – Southern Variegated Flycatcher – C & E Bolivia, C & S Brazil (Mato Grosso E to Espírito Santo, S to Rio Grande do Sul), N Argentina (S at least to Tucumán, Santa Fe and Entre Ríos, possibly farther S), Paraguay and Uruguay; S breeders migrate N into range of nominate and NW as far as W Colombia.
  • Descriptive notes

    18–19 cm; 25 g. Nominate race has mostly blackish or blackish-brown head, yellow coronal patch (semi-concealed), long white supercilia nearly confluent on nape, broad... read more


    Usually rather quiet, even during breeding; harsh “chee-chee-chu” call, final note more prolonged,... read more


    Borders of primary forest, secondary woodland, gallery forest, open savanna with scattered bushes... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects; also small fruits, austral migrants possibly consuming greater quantities of fruit than do residents. Generally solitary;... read more


    Nest-building activity recorded as early as mid Oct (Santo Tomé), eggs late Nov to Dec and nestlings mid Dec in Argentina. Nest... read more


    S race (nominate) partially migratory, vacates breeding areas S of E Bolivia and S Brazil. Migrates... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Uncommon to fairly common. Occurs in many national parks and other protected areas. Has a large range and is found in a variety of... read more

    Recommended citation

    Mobley, J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Variegated Flycatcher (Empidonomus varius). 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 10 December 2019).