Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant

The Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant, Myiornis atricapillus, is the smallest passerine bird in the world, and is a part of the tyrant flycatcher family.

Distribution / Range

The Black-capped Pygmy Tyrant breeds from Costa Rica to western Ecuador.

They mostly occur in the forest canopy, coming lower at edges and clearings, and in second growth and semi-open woodland. It is fairly common, except in arid areas, in the Caribbean lowlands, breeding from sea level to sometimes 600 m altitude.

Breeding / Nesting

The female alone builds a 15 cm long pouch nest with a round side entrance, which is suspended from a thin branch 1-7 m high in a tree. She incubates the two brown-blotched white eggs for 15-16 days to hatching.


The Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant is a tiny short-tailed bird, 6.5 cm long, and weighing 5.2 g.

The crown is black, shading to dark grey on rest of the head, and contrasting with the white “spectacles”. The rest of the upperparts are olive-green. The tail and the wings are blackish with yellow edging to the feathers and two yellow wing bars. The throat and central breast are white, shading to grey on the flanks and pale yellow on the belly.

Males and females look alike, except the females have a duller, sootier crown.

Juveniles have a browner crown and upperparts, and their wing markings and underparts are tinged with buff.

Diet / Feeding

The Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant mostly feed on small insects and are usually seen hunting alone, in pairs, or family groups.

Calls / Vocalizations

Its call has been described as a thin ttseep which could easily be confused with an insect or frog. Family groups also communicate with soft whistles and trills.

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