|Yellow-bellied elaenia at Registro, São Paulo State, Brazil|
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The yellow-bellied elaenia (Elaenia flavogaster) is a small bird of the tyrant flycatcher family. It breeds from southern Mexico and the Yucatán Peninsula through Central and South America as far as northern Argentina, and on Trinidad and Tobago.
Adults are 16.5 cm long and weigh 24g. They have olive-brown upperparts, a white eye ring, a bushy divided crest and a white crown patch in the parting. The throat is pale and the breast greyish, with pale yellow lower underparts. The call is a nasal breeer, and the song is a wheezing zhu-zhee-zhu-zhee.
4 subspecies are recognized:
- Elaenia flavogaster flavogaster
- Elaenia flavogaster pallididorsalis
- Elaenia flavogaster semipagana
- Elaenia flavogaster subpagana
This is a common bird in semi-open woodland, scrub, gardens and cultivation. The yellow-bellied elaenia is a noisy and conspicuous bird which feeds on berries and insects. The latter are usually caught from mid-air after the bird sallies from a perch, and sometimes picked up from plants. The species will also join mixed-species feeding flocks on occasion, typically staying quite some distance up in the trees.
It makes a cup nest and lays two cream eggs with reddish blotches at the larger end. The female incubates for 16 days, with about the same period to fledging. Omnivorous mammals as small as the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) will eagerly plunder yellow-bellied elaenia nests in the undergrowth – perhaps more often during the dry season when fruits are scarce – despite the birds' attempts to defend their offspring.
- de A. Gabriel, Vagner & Pizo, Marco A. (2005): Foraging behavior of tyrant flycatchers (Aves, Tyrannidae) in Brazil. Revista Brasileira de Zoologia 22(4): 1072–1077 [English with Portuguese abstract]. doi:10.1590/S0101-81752005000400036 PDF fulltext
- de Lyra-Neves, Rachel M.; Oliveira, Maria A.B.; Telino-Júnior,Wallace R. & dos Santos, Ednilza M. (2007): Comportamentos interespecíficos entre Callithrix jacchus (Linnaeus) (Primates, Callitrichidae) e algumas aves de Mata Atlântica, Pernambuco, Brasil [Interspecific behaviour between Callithrix jacchus (Linnaeus) (Callitrichidae, Primates) and some birds of the Atlantic forest, Pernanbuco State, Brazil]. Revista Brasileira de Zoologia 24(3): 709–716 [Portuguese with English abstract]. doi:10.1590/S0101-81752007000300022 PDF fulltext.
- ffrench, Richard; O'Neill, John Patton & Eckelberry, Don R. (1991): A guide to the birds of Trinidad and Tobago (2nd edition). Comstock Publishing, Ithaca, N.Y.. ISBN 0-8014-9792-2
- Hilty, Steven L. (2003): Birds of Venezuela. Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 0-7136-6418-5
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