Lesser elaenia

Lesser elaenia
Elaenia chiriquensis
Photo by Marlos Menêzes (Flickr)

Common name:
lesser elaenia (en); chibum (pt); élénie menue (fr); fiofío belicoso (es); grauwangen-olivtyrann (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Tyrannidae

This species is found in Central and South America, from Costa Rica to Missiones, in Argentina.

These birds are 14 cm long and weigh 15-18 g.

Lesser elaenias are mostly found in tropical dry savannas, but also in dry scrublands, dry forests, along river and creeks. They are also found in human-modified habitats, like second growths, plantations and arable land.

These birds are mostly insectivorous, capturing insects in flight. When in season, the fruits of Miconia scrubs are also an important food source.

Lesser elaenias breed in September-December. The nest is a shallow cup made of plant fibres and grasses, placed in a fork in a tree. The female lays 1-3 pale cream eggs with dark spots, which are incubated for 12-15 days. The chicks fledge 15 days after hatching.

IUCN status – LC (Least concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as common. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to fires, over-grazing by cattle, slash-and burn agriculture and selective logging.

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