Buff-breasted tody-tyrant -- 黄胸哑霸鹟 (Hemitriccus mirandae)

Buff-breasted tody-tyrant, view from behind
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Buff-breasted tody-tyrant fact file

Buff-breasted tody-tyrant description

GenusHemitriccus (1)

As it has been recorded at only a few scattered localities, very little is known about the elusive buff-breasted tody-tyrant (Hemitriccus mirandae) (3). This mysterious small flycatcher has a darkish olive crown and underparts, dusky olive wings and a tail fringed with yellowish olive (4). The cheeks, throat and breast are a pale creamy buff, blending into pale yellow on the feathers beneath the tail (4). The buff-breasted tody-tyrant has cinnamon coloured eyes (2) and greyish legs (4). The male and female buff-breasted tody-tyrants are similar in appearance (5).

The calls of the buff-breasted tody-tyrant have been described as a slightly ascending set of six or seven notes, ‘kt-kit-kit-kiit-kiit-kiiit-kit(4), and a group of three short, squeaky sounds, ‘chweet chweet chweet(2).

Head-body length: 10 cm (2)

Buff-breasted tody-tyrant biology

Arthropods form the bulk of this small bird’s diet (2). The buff-breasted tody-tyrant typically perches motionless within a tangle of thick vines, two to five metres off the ground (6), before making a quick upward strike to capture prey from the underside of a leaf (4). The buff-breasted tody-tyrant is usually found singly or in pairs (7).

Little is known about the breeding biology of the buff-breasted tody-tyrant, or even other species in the Hemitriccus genus. In general, birds in the Tyrannidae family are monogamous with both parents defending a territory and feeding the young (6).


Buff-breasted tody-tyrant range

The buff-breasted tody-tyrant is endemic to north-east Brazil, where it has been sighted in the states of Caerá, Alagoas, Paraiba and Pernambuco (2).


Buff-breasted tody-tyrant habitat

The buff-breasted tody-tyrant inhabits semi-humid forest and shrubby secondary forest concentrated on isolated ridges (4), at elevations between 600 and 900 metres (2). It has also been found in the understory of both humid and dry forests (2).


Buff-breasted tody-tyrant status

The buff-breasted tody-tyrant is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable


Buff-breasted tody-tyrant threats

The buff-breasted tody-tyrant is yet another casualty of the extensive deforestation taking place in Brazil. It was estimated in 2010 that between 2,500 and 9,000 individuals remained, but there could be as few as 1,000 (2), and numbers are believed to be declining (2).

Much of the forest habitat was originally cleared for growing ‘sun’ coffee in the early 1970s and more recently for sugar cane (4). The remaining forest is threatened by residential and commercial development, logging for firewood, and fires (2) (4).

Climate change also poses a long-term threat to the buff-breasted tody-tyrant, as it is likely to alter its habitat (2) (8).


Buff-breasted tody-tyrant conservation

The buff-breasted tody-tyrant occurs in a number of protected areas, such as the Baturite State Environmental Protection Area, the Tapacura Ecological Station and Pedra Talhada Biological Reserve (4). Reforestation with native trees is taking place in the Pedra Talhada Biological Reserve and protection is enforced by guards (2).

The continuation of these conservation efforts is vital for this endangered bird, but other areas of important habitat should also be protected to ensure the survival of the buff-breasted tody-tyrant (2)


Find out more

Learn more about bird conservation:

Find out more about conservation in Brazil:



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


A major grouping of animals that includes crustaceans, insects and arachnids. All arthropods have paired jointed limbs and a hard external skeleton (exoskeleton).
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
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’ scientific species name; the second part is the specific name.
Having only one mate during a breeding season, or throughout the breeding life of a pair.
Secondary forest
Forest that has re-grown after a major disturbance, such as fire or timber harvest, but has not yet reached the mature state of primary forest.
An area occupied and defended by an animal, a pair of animals or a colony.


  1. IUCN Red List (November, 2010)
  2. BirdLife International (November, 2010)
  3. Ridgely, R.S. and Tudor, G. (1994) The Birds of South America: The Suboscine Passerines. Volume II. University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas.
  4. del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (2004) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 9: Cotingas to Pipits and Wagtails. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  5. Meyer de Schauensee, R. (1971) A Guide to the Birds of South America. Livingston Publications, Pennsylvania.
  6. Sick, H. (1993) Birds in Brazil: A Natural History. Princeton University Press, New Jersey.
  7. Ridgely, R.S. and Tudor, G. (2009) Field Guide to the Songbirds of South America: The Passerines. University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas.
  8. WWF: Climate Change Impacts in Brazil (May, 2011)

Image credit

Buff-breasted tody-tyrant, view from behind  
Buff-breasted tody-tyrant, view from behind

© Arthur Grosset

Arthur Grosset


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