Rufous-sided pygmy-tyrant -- 棕胁侏霸鹟 (Euscarthmus rufomarginatus)

Rufous-sided pygmy-tyrant
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Rufous-sided pygmy-tyrant fact file

Rufous-sided pygmy-tyrant description

GenusEuscarthmus (1)

The small rufous-sided pygmy tyrant is a member of the family Tyrannidae, a name taken from the Greek word tyrannas, meaning ‘lord’ or ‘ruler’, and refers to their aggressive behaviour (3). The plumage is mostly a drab brown, slightly darker on the wings, and, as the name suggest, the sides are a warm orange. The long, brown tail feathers are edged in yellowy-orange. The underparts are pale yellow, the throat is white, and the light brown face has a short, whitish ‘eyebrow’, or supercilium. The upper part of the beak is black, whilst the lower part is flesh-coloured, and the eyes are dark brown (2).

Length: 11 cm (2)
6 g (2)

Rufous-sided pygmy-tyrant biology

The rufous-sided pygmy tyrant spends its time searching for food in pairs, usually in grass or low shrubs, and occasionally down on the ground, where it feeds on arthropods and small fruits (2). There has been nothing recorded about the breeding behaviour of this species, but other tyrant flycatchers lay two or three eggs, which are incubated by the female for 14 to 20 days, and the nestlings fledge after 14 to 23 days (5).


Rufous-sided pygmy-tyrant range

The rufous-sided pygmy tyrant occurs in east and central Brazil, north-eastern Bolivia, north-eastern Paraguay and southern Suriname. It was probably once widespread, but now occurs at scattered localities across this range (2) (4).


Rufous-sided pygmy-tyrant habitat

Inhabits pristine, shrubby grasslands and open savanna, up to an elevation of 1,000 metres. It may also occur in bamboo-dominated scrub (2).


Rufous-sided pygmy-tyrant status

Classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Near Threatened


Rufous-sided pygmy-tyrant threats

It is thought that the loss of habitat is responsible for the rufous-sided pygmy tyrant’s decline and present rarity. The savanna region, or Cerrado, it inhabits has been greatly affected by human developments, such as pastures, plantations and highways. In 1998 it was estimated that around 67 percent of the Cerrado had been completely converted or modified in a major way. Further agricultural developments and human colonization continues to put pressure on the remaining natural vegetation (6). However, its absence in apparently suitable habitat suggests that there may also be other reasons for its rarity, which as yet remain unknown (2).


Rufous-sided pygmy-tyrant conservation

The rufous-sided pygmy tyrant occurs in most of the protected areas in the Cerrado, including the Noel Kempff Mercado National Park (7), the Nascentes do Rio Parnaíba National Park, and Jalapão State Park (4). Surveys have been undertaken in Brazil, which uncovered no additional populations (2), but there have been no other conservation measures targeted at this small bird. Conservation measures proposed by BirdLife International include further population surveys, studies into the species’ ecology, to assess the possible reasons for its rarity, and the removal of incentives encouraging habitat loss, particularly the planting of Eucalyptus trees on grasslands (4).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

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For further information on this species see:



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A very diverse phylum (a major grouping of animals) that includes crustaceans, insects and arachnids. All arthropods have paired jointed limbs and a hard external skeleton (exoskeleton).
The act of incubating eggs; that is, keeping them warm so that development is possible.


  1. IUCN Red List (January, 2007)
  2. del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (2004) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 9: Cotingas to Pipits and Wagtails. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  3. U.S. Geological Survey (June, 2007)
  4. Birdlife International (May, 2009)
  5. Burnie, D. (2001) Animal. Dorling Kindersley, London.
  6. World Wildlife Fund (June, 2007)
  7. UNEP-WCMC (May, 2009)

Image credit

Rufous-sided pygmy-tyrant  
Rufous-sided pygmy-tyrant

© Jon Hornbuckle

Jon Hornbuckle


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