Family Tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Least Concern

White-crested Tyrannulet (Serpophaga subcristata)


French: Tyranneau à toupet German: Weißscheitel-Kleintyrann Spanish: Piojito tiquitiqui
Other common names: White-bellied Tyrannulet (munda)

Sylvia subcristata


, 1817,



Race munda commonly regarded as a separate species in recent years, but, despite difference in plumage, its voice is identical so treatment as conspecific now considered appropriate#R. Form “griseiceps” (Cochabamba, WC Bolivia), with reduced white in crown and more buffish wingbars, was based on juveniles of munda; see also S. griseicapilla (below). Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. s. subcristata (Vieillot, 1817) – Bolivia (from La Paz) and S Brazil (S from S Mato Grosso) S through Paraguay to Argentina (S to NE Chubut).
  • S. s. munda Berlepsch, 1893 – Andes of W Bolivia (S from La Paz) and W Argentina (S to Neuquén and W Río Negro); migrates E, as far as coast in SE Brazil and Uruguay, and as far N as NC Bolivia (S Beni).
  • S. s. straminea (Temminck, 1822) – E Brazil and Uruguay.
  • Descriptive notes

    11 cm; 6–8·6 g. Has thin white supercilium from bill to just behind eye, white broken eyering, thin dusky eyeline; greyish olive above, crown and nape more pure... read more


    Song, during which tail shaken vigorously, a soft, cheery, but almost mechanical-sounding trill... read more


    Lowland tropical forest edge, deciduous woodland, gallery forest, tall scrub, cerrado,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects. Very active, parulid-like tyrannulet, pausing only briefly while flitting through outer edges of scrubby vegetation, frequently... read more


    Aug–Dec in Brazil and Argentina. Nest built by both sexes, a neat, tightly constructed open cup, outside diameter 6 cm, inside... read more


    Partial migrant, but migratory habits still uncertain; apparently present in E Bolivia only Apr... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common to common. Occurs in numerous protected areas throughout its range, e.g. San Rafael and Ybycuí National Parks, both in Paraguay, Beni... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fitzpatrick, J. (2019). White-crested Tyrannulet (Serpophaga subcristata). 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).