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Distribution / Habitat:

The range of distribution of the Lesser Greenlet, Hylophilus decurtatus, stretches from northeastern Mexico south to western Ecuador in the lowlands and foothills up to 1200 m altitude.

There are two races.

  • The nominate H. d. decurtatus breeds from central Panama southwards. It has a green crown to the head.
  • The grey-crowned H. d. minor occupies the northern part of the bird’s range. The latter subspecies was formerly given species status as the Grey-crowned Greenlet, H. minor but the two forms interbreed extensively in central Panama and are now considered to be conspecific (of, or belonging to, the same species).

Description:

The adult Lesser Greenlet is 10 cm in length and weighs 9 g. It has olive-green upperparts and a pale grey head with a white eyering. The underparts are white with a yellow tinge to the breast and some olive on the flanks.

Immature birds are duller and brown above, and have a buff tone to the sides of the head and the breast.

Nesting / Breeding:

The nest is a deep cup of dead leaves and spiderwebs attached by the rim to branches 10-15 m high in a tree. The normal clutch is two brown-marked white eggs.

Diet:

Lesser Greenlets feed on spiders and insects gleaned from tree foliage, They also eat small fruits and seeds.

Song:

The Lesser Greenlet has a nasal neeah-neeah-neeah-neeah call and the song is a whistled chi chi cher cher cher cher chiri cher which cheri, slower and more melodious than that of the Yellow-green Vireo.

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson


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