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Southern Mouse-colored Tyrannulet - BirdForum Opus

Nesotriccus murinus

Phaeomyias murina

Photo © by Renato Santos
Bonito, Mato Grosso, Brazil, 5 January, 2021


Total length 11-12 cm (4½ in). Overall a small greyish-brown flycatcher with two wing bars and a longish tail.

  • Upperside grey-brown
  • Wings more dusky but with pale feather edges and two wing bars that go from cinnamon to whitish
  • Face pale greyish
  • Supercilium wide but not strongly contrasting
  • Throat pale grey
  • Breast olive-grey, paler at center
  • Underside whitish breast to yellow belly, with some olive on breast sides
  • Eyes brown
  • Bill horn with pink base to lower mandible

Similar Species

Easily confused. Jizz, dull brownish upperparts, long whitish eye-brow, two whitish to rufescent wing-bars and relatively thick bill with pale base to lower mandible (sometimes hard to see) are important features. Does not cock its tail as the Southern Beardless Tyrannulet. Also compare the Fuscous Flycatcher and the localized Slender-billed Tyrannulet. Where overlapping other members of the former Mouse-colored Tyrannulet complex it becomes more complex and may necessitate vocal data, though for example Tumbes Tyrannulet lacks yellow on belly and has indistinct buff wing bars.


Widespread in South America east of the Andes from Colombia and much of Brazil south to Northern Argentina and Paraguay.

Largely resident or with local movements only, but southermost populations migrate north to spend Austral winter in the Amazon and Andean populations often move to lower elevation outside of breeding season.


This species was previously considered a part of Mouse-colored Tyrannulet which has been split into several species.


Two subspecies are recognized[1].

  • N. m. wagae:
  • Tropical eastern Peru to north-western Bolivia and western Amazonian Brazil
  • N. m. murina:


Wide range of semi-open habitats, incl. scrub, woodland, mangrove, forest edge and gardens. Mainly in lowlands, but locally up to 2200 m (7200 ft) and accidentally even higher.



Breeding seasonal, but exact timing varies. The female built the open nest and incubate the eggs alone, but both sexes feed the chicks.


Forages actively for insects and small fruits.


Easily overlooked unless familiar with its voice.
Dawn song consists of 3-5 notes described as "husky" or "popping, sneezy", rwee-chee-chew, or tsee-rwee-chee-chew, or rwee-chee-chew or pi-pi-pi-PUiChee. Later in the day, it sings a dry, energetic, loud and chattering du-du-du-du-du... du DU-DU-DUP often repeated again and again. This sound is similar to songs given by Northern Mouse-colored Tyrannulet.
Calls: include dry rattles and drep, drep notes.

Tumbes Tyrannulet (see Taxonomy) has a very different song consisting of a chattery and sharp dri-DRIIII. Also several other calls.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, S. M. Billerman, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2022. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2022. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Gill, F, D Donsker, and P Rasmussen (Eds). 2023. IOC World Bird List (v 13.1)_red. Doi 10.14344/IOC.ML.13.1. http://www.worldbirdnames.org/
  3. Schulenberg, T. S. & Stotz, D. F. & Lane, D. F. & O'Neill, J. P. & Parker III, T. A. & Egg, A. B. (2010). Birds of Peru: Revised and Updated Edition. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0691130231
  4. Fitzpatrick, J. W., J. del Hoyo, G. M. Kirwan, and N. Collar (2022). Southern Mouse-colored Tyrannulet (Nesotriccus murina), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (B. K. Keeney, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.moctyr3.01

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.1