Kaempfer’s tody-tyrant -- 凯氏哑霸鹟 (Hemitriccus kaempferi)

Kaempfer's tody-tyrant perched on a branch
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Kaempfer’s tody-tyrant fact file

Kaempfer’s tody-tyrant description

GenusHemitriccus (1)

Kaempfer’s tody-tyrant (Hemitriccus kaempferi) is a small bird with a brownish-olive head and face, olive-green underparts and breast, and a pale yellow throat. The wings are slightly more colourful than the body, being dark with green and yellow tips and two yellowish wing bars, and the tail is dark (2) (3). Some differences in plumage can be seen between individual Kaempfer’s tody-tyrants, but this is most likely due to the freshness of the plumage (the amount of wear) or to varied lighting conditions on observation (3).

Vocalisations of Kaempfer’s tody-tyrant can be heard throughout the day, but are most commonly heard in the early morning. The vocalisations are high-pitched and consist of either three or four repeated ‘kwit’ notes, sometimes with a single note preceding the main calls (3).

Idioptilon kaempferi.
Length: 10 cm (2)

Kaempfer’s tody-tyrant biology

Kaempfer’s tody-tyrant feeds on invertebrates, including green caterpillars. This species is very active when feeding (3), flying one to four metres off the ground, and can be seen hovering while looking for food (2). Kaempfer’s tody-tyrant has never been observed flying in mixed-species feeding flocks, instead being found in pairs in well-defined territories (2), where the pair will feed within a small distance of one another (3).

Very little is known about the breeding behaviour of Kaempfer’s tody-tyrant, but like other members of the genus it is thought to be monogamous (5). Kaempfer’s tody-tyrant has only ever once been observed nest building. Both the male and the female actively build a nest out of moss, grass and dead leaves until it is approximately 45 centimetres in length and has formed an elongated cup shape (3).


Kaempfer’s tody-tyrant range

Kaempfer’s tody-tyrant is endemic to southeast Brazil, where a fragmented population can be found in 11 localities including Salto Piraí, Blumenau municipality and Brusque (2).


Kaempfer’s tody-tyrant habitat

Living in the Atlantic forest of Brazil, Kaempfer’s tody-tyrant can be found in low-lying areas of tropical evergreen forest (4). These shrubby forests normally have a canopy which is 12 to 15 metres at its highest, and are often located near rivers (3).


Kaempfer’s tody-tyrant status

Kaempfer’s tody-tyrant is classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Endangered


Kaempfer’s tody-tyrant threats

The population of Kaempfer’s tody-tyrant is in decline, the primary threat being the deforestation of lowland areas to make room for banana and rice plantations (2) (3). Other short-term threats include the urbanisation of the coastal plain and the construction of a road, BR 101, which may lead to further fragmentation of the population. Possible sea-level rise also poses a potential long-term threat to Kaempfer’s tody-tyrant (2).


Kaempfer’s tody-tyrant conservation

Kaempfer’s tody-tyrant is currently protected by Brazilian law (2) (6), as are two of the areas it can be found in, Paraná and Santa Catarina (3). Further conservation measures for this species should include slowing the rate of deforestation, and proper and regular surveys need to be conducted as current information on Kaempfer’s tody-tyrant is only based on casual observations (3).

There is also the possibility of various reserves, including the Bracinho State Ecological Station at Santa Catarina, being expanded to include adjacent patches of habitat (2).

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

Find out more

Find out more about Kaempfer’s tody-tyrant and its conservation:



This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:

This species information was authored as part of the Arkive and Universities Scheme.


Atlantic forest
A highly biodiverse region found along the east coast of South America, comprising several different vegetation types, including high-altitude grassland, and lowland and montane forest.
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Evergreen forest
Forest consisting mainly of evergreen trees, which retain leaves all year round. This is in contrast to deciduous trees, which completely lose their leaves for part of the year.
A category used in taxonomy, which is below ‘family’ and above ‘species’. A genus tends to contain species that have characteristics in common. The genus forms the first part of a ‘binomial’ Latin species name; the second part is the specific name.
Animals with no backbone, such as insects, crustaceans, worms, molluscs, spiders, cnidarians (jellyfish, corals, sea anemones) and echinoderms.
Having only one mate during a breeding season, or throughout the breeding life of a pair.
An area occupied and defended by an animal, a pair of animals or a group.


  1. IUCN Red List (November, 2011)
  2. BirdLife International - Kaempfer’s tody-tyrant (November, 2011)
  3. Mazar Barnett, J., Kirwan, G.M., Pearman, M., Nicolás Naka, L. and Tobias, J.A. (2000) Rediscovery and subsequent observations of Kaempfer’s tody-tyrant Hemitriccus kaempferi in Santa Catarina, Brazil, with notes on conservation, life history and plumage. Bird Conservation International, 10: 371-379.
  4. Brooks, T., Tobias, J. and Balmford, A. (1999)Deforestation and bird extinctions in the Atlantic forest. Animal Conservation, 2: 211-222.
  5. Sick, H. (1993) Birds in Brazil: A Natural History. Princeton University Press, New Jersey.
  6. Bernardes, A.T., Machado, A.B.M. and Rylands, A.B. (1990) Fauna Brasileira Ameaçada de Extinção. Fundação Biodiversitas para a Conservação da Diversidade Biológica, Belo Horizonte.

Image credit

Kaempfer's tody-tyrant perched on a branch  
Kaempfer's tody-tyrant perched on a branch

© Vítor de Q. Piacentini

Vítor de Q. Piacentini


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