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White-headed Marsh Tyrant - BirdForum Opus

Male on left, female on right
Photo © by Steve G
Aripo Livestock station, Trinidad, 18 May 2006
Arundinicola leucocephala


12·5–13 cm (4¾-5¼ in)

  • Blackish-brown overall plumage
  • Upper chest and most of head (except rear) white
  • Lower mandible yellow


  • Pale grey upperparts (wings and tail darker - these areas can sometimes look quite brown)
  • Forecrown, sides of head, and underparts white
  • Breast has a few indistinct greyish streaks
  • Head is rounded

Similar species

Female most likely to be confused with immature Pied Water Tyrant.


South America: found in Trinidad and north Colombia to the Guianas and east of Andes to Bolivia, Uruguay, and southeast Brazil.


This is a monotypic species1.


Freshwater marshes ponds and damp grassy areas. Also along river banks.



Their diet consists almost entirely of insects, caught in flight sallies from a post or branch.


Usually quiet.
Call a high-pitched tzeek.


The nest is a feather-lined oval ball of grasses and other plant material, with a side entrance. It is placed at the end of a branch near or over water. The clutch consists of 2-3 brown spotted, creamy-white eggs. They are incubated by both adults.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Farnsworth, A. & Langham, G. (2019). White-headed Marsh-tyrant (Arundinicola leucocephala). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/57414 on 2 July 2019).
  3. White-headed Marsh Tyrant (Arundinicola leucocephala), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: https://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/Species-Account/nb/species/whmtyr1

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