Mountain elaenia

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Mountain elaenia
Mountain Elaenia - Colombia S4E2481.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Tyrannidae
Genus: Elaenia
E. frantzii
Binomial name
Elaenia frantzii
Lawrence, 1865

See text

Elaenia frantzii map.svg

The mountain elaenia (Elaenia frantzii) is a small passerine bird in the tyrant flycatcher family. It breeds in highlands from Guatemala to Colombia and western Venezuela. The scientific name celebrates the German physician and naturalist, Alexander von Frantzius.


Savegre Valley, Costa Rica

This tyrant flycatcher is 14–15 cm (5.5–5.9 in) long and weighs 17–20 g (0.60–0.71 oz). The upperparts are dull olive, with a narrow white eye ring. The wings are dusky with narrow yellow feather edges and two off-white wing bars. The throat and breast are yellowish grey, becoming dull yellow on the belly. Sexes are similar, but young birds are browner above, paler below and have brighter wing bars.


Four subspecies are recognized:[2]

  • Elaenia frantzii ultimaGriscom, 1935: found in Chiapas (southern Mexico), Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras
  • Elaenia frantzii frantziiLawrence, 1865: found in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and western Panama
  • Elaenia frantzii browniBangs, 1898: found in northern Colombia and northwestern Venezuela
  • Elaenia frantzii pudicaSclater, PL, 1871: found in northern and eastern Colombia, northern and western Venezuela


This is an inconspicuous species, with a slurred peeeeur call, longer than that of mistletoe tyrannulet, and a repetitive d’weet d’weet song. It is solitary when not breeding.


The mountain elaenia breeds between 1,200 and 2,900 m (3,900 and 9,500 ft) in altitude in wet mountain forests, especially at the edges and in clearings and in adjacent second growth, semi-open areas, or pastures with trees. It moves lower in winter, down to 600 m (2,000 ft), and also appears to undergo seasonal movements.[3][4]

Its nest is a cup of mosses, liverworts and lichens, lined with plant fibres. It is built by the female 2–15 m (6.6–49.2 ft) high in a tree or bamboo. The two cinnamon-blotched whitish eggs are incubated by the female for 15–16 days to hatching.


It perches on a shaded watchpoint from which it sallies forth to pick insects, spiders, and many berries and seeds from foliage or even the ground. All its food is taken in flight.



  1. ^ BirdLife International (2016). "Elaenia frantzii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T22699298A93724789. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22699298A93724789.en. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  2. ^ IOC v.6.3
  3. ^ Hilty, Steven L. (2003). Birds of Venezuela. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-7136-6418-5.
  4. ^ Strewe, Ralf; Navarro, Cristobal (2004). "New and noteworthy records of birds from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta region, north-eastern Colombia". Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club. British Ornithologists' Club. 124 (1): 38–51.


  • Stiles, F. Gary; Skutch, Alexander F. (1989). A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica. Comstock Publishing Associates. ISBN 0-8014-9600-4.

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