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Yellow-bellied elaenia (Elaenia flavogaster)
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Tyrannidae
Genus: Elaenia
Sundevall, 1836
Type species
Muscicapa pagana[1] = Pipra flavogaster
Sundevall, 1836

see text

Elaenia is a genus of passerine birds in the tyrant flycatcher family which occur in Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Except by voice, specific identification is often difficult since many species are very similar. They are also known by the common name elaenia, which they share with the similar tyrant flycatchers of the genus Myiopagis.

Elaenia flycatchers are typically brownish, greyish or olive above, and off-white and/or pale yellow on the belly, with a white or pale yellowish eye-ring of variable strength and two or three wing bars. Some species show a crest; often with a semi-concealed white patch/streak.


The genus Elaenia was introduced by the Swedish zoologist Carl Jakob Sundevall in 1836.[2] The type species was subsequently designated as the yellow-bellied elaenia.[3] The name of the genus is from the Ancient Greek ελαινεος elaineos "of olive-oil" or "oleaginous".[4]

The genus contains 22 species:[5]

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
Yellow-bellied elaenia Elaenia flavogaster Central and South America as far as northern Argentina, and on Trinidad and Tobago.
Caribbean elaenia Elaenia martinica West Indies and parts of Central America.
Large elaenia Elaenia spectabilis western Amazonia to eastern Brazil and central Bolivia.
Noronha elaenia Elaenia ridleyana Fernando de Noronha
White-crested elaenia Elaenia albiceps Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, and northernmost Chile.
Chilean elaenia Elaenia chilensis southern Bolivia to Tierra del Fuego.
Small-billed elaenia Elaenia parvirostris Argentina, Aruba, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Netherlands Antilles, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
Olivaceous elaenia Elaenia mesoleuca Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
Slaty elaenia Elaenia strepera western Amazon Basin, Colombia and Venezuela.
Mottle-backed elaenia Elaenia gigas Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.
Brownish elaenia Elaenia pelzelni Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and Bolivia.
Plain-crested elaenia Elaenia cristata Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela.
Lesser elaenia Elaenia chiriquensis Argentina, Aruba, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Netherlands Antilles, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela.
Coopmans's elaenia Elaenia brachyptera southwestern Colombia and northwestern Ecuador.
Rufous-crowned elaenia Elaenia ruficeps Brazil, Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, and Venezuela.
Mountain elaenia Elaenia frantzii Guatemala to Colombia and western Venezuela
Highland elaenia Elaenia obscura southeastern Ecuador to Bolivia and northwestern Argentina
Small-headed elaenia Elaenia sordida southeastern Brazil, eastern Paraguay, and northeastern Argentina.
Great elaenia Elaenia dayi Venezuela and far northern Brazil, and may also occur in Guyana.
Sierran elaenia Elaenia pallatangae Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, and Venezuela.
Tepui elaenia Elaenia olivina Guyana and Venezuela
Greater Antillean elaenia Elaenia fallax Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti) and Jamaica.

See also[edit]

  • Myiopagis, another genus of tyrant flycatchers commonly known as elaenias


  1. ^ "Tyrannidae". aviansystematics.org. The Trust for Avian Systematics. Retrieved 2023-07-16.
  2. ^ Sundevall, Carl Jakob (1836). "Elaenia". Kungl. Svenska Vetenskapsakademiens Handlingar. series 3 (in Latin). 23: 89.
  3. ^ Traylor, Melvin A. Jr, ed. (1979). Check-list of Birds of the World. Vol. 8. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. pp. 26–27.
  4. ^ Jobling, J.A. (2018). del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J.; Christie, D.A.; de Juana, E. (eds.). "Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  5. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2018). "Tyrant flycatchers". World Bird List Version 8.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 1 July 2018.