• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Western Fire-eye - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by renato.santos.4b
Chapada dos Guimaraes , Brazil, 11 January 2021
Pyriglena maura


16–18 cm

  • Mostly glossy black
  • White central mantle
  • Red eye
  • Dark bill and legs

Female subspecies maura

Female, subspecies maura
Photo © by renato.santos.4b
Chapada dos Guimaraes, Brazil, 11 January 2021
  • Brownich-buff on crown, upperside and wings, gradually less buff towards the rear
  • White central mantle
  • Tail brownish-black
  • Wide black Lores continuing as a stripe behind eye, and surrounded by white both above and below
  • Underside buff becoming darker especially on the rear flanks
  • Eye and legs similar to male
  • Immatures similar to adults of same sex
  • Tail very short in recent fledgings


Female of subspecies marcapatensis is most similar but with darker, chestnut-washed upper and underside and white chin. Female of subspecies castanoptera are mostly similar to males but with chestnut wings, and brown wash on flanks and nape and picea is a somewhat paler/browner version of this. Female of subspecies pacifica have brown upperside, whitish chin and throat, and paler brown underside.


South America: found in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay.

Female, subspecies castanoptera
Photo © by Stanley Jones
Wildsumaco Lodge, Napo Province, Ecuador, January 2016


East Amazonian Fire-eye, Tapajos Fire-eye, and Western Fire-eye were formerly considered a single species under the name of White-backed Fire-eye.


Six subspecies are recognized[1].

  • P. l. pacifica: Western Ecuador and extreme north-western Peru (Tumbes)
  • P. l. castanoptera: Eastern Andean slope of southern Colombia to eastern Ecuador and northern Peru
  • P. l. picea: Eastern Andean slope of Peru (southern Amazonas to Junín and Ayacucho)
  • P. l. marcapatensis: South-eastern Peru (Madre de Dios, Cusco and Puno)
  • P. l. hellmayri: West-central Bolivia (Beni, La Paz, Cochabamba and western Santa Cruz)
  • P. l. maura: Eastern Bolivia to south-central Brazil (Mato Grosso) and northern Paraguay


Evergreen forests where it especially is associated with spots of dense understory, also sometimes found in gallery forest along rivers. In Brazil lowland to lower hilly areas, but is found quite high elevation in eastern Andean slopes.


Searches for food near ground, usually pairs to family groups but more may be together if attending army ants (which they frequently do). Feeds on invertebrates and small lizards.


Song includes duets of series of short whistles, where the male starts and the female immediately follows at a slightly higher pitch.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2021. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2021. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. 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
  3. Zimmer, K. and M.L. Isler (2021). Western Fire-eye (Pyriglena maura), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott, J. Sargatal, D. A. Christie, and E. de Juana, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.wesfie1.01

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.