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Leptopogon taczanowskii

Inca Flycatcher

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Tyrannidae
  • Monotypic

Authors: Schulenberg, Thomas S., and Tom Johnson



Leptopogon are small flycatchers with a relatively long, slender, black bill, yellow or rufous wing bars, and a gray face grizzled with white; most species also have a conspicuous dark mark on the auriculars. Inca Flycatcher is dull olive above with a gray forecrown, rusty wing bars, and the face is grizzled with white and gray; the breast is tawny olive, and the belly is yellow.

Similar Species

Inca Flycatcher is distinctive in appearance, and usually is readily identifiable. There is widespread geographic overlap between Inca Flycatcher and its congener, Slaty-capped Flycatcher (Leptopogon superciliaris), which Inca Flycatcher generally replaces at higher elevations. Inca Flycatcher readily is distinguished from Slaty-capped Flycacther by the tawny wash to breast, the lack of a prominent auricular mark, the more strongly rufous wing bars, and the olive gray (not slate gray) crown.


The most frequently heard call of Inca Flycatcher is described as "a sharp explosive tziet", given every 1-1.5 s (Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990); "an often-repeated, explosive tzeet, repeated every second or so" (Walker 2005), and as "a series of 1–5 skleew notes" (Lane, in Schulenberg et al. 2010). Other calls include "sharp pik notes" (Lane, in Schulenberg et al. 2010).

 The song of Inca Flycatcher is described as "a squeaky skleew-di-wurdee?" (Lane, in Schulenberg et al. 2010).

Additional audio recordings of vocalizations of Inca Flycatcher can be heard at Macaulay Library and at xeno-canto.

Nonvocal Sounds

None reported.

Detailed Description (appearance)

The following description is based on Fjeldså and Krabbe (1990) and Fitzpatrick (2004):

Adult: Crown dark olive or brownish olive. Upperparts otherwise olive green. Wings with two well defined ochraceous wing bars (formed from the ochraceous tips to the outer webs of the wing coverts). Remiges dusky. Edges of remiges olivaceous; inner tertial edged white. Rectrices warm dusky olive. Narrow eyering whitish. Lores and sides of head mottled or grizzled blackish and whitish, whiter posteriorly . Chin and upper throat grayish. Lower throat and breast tawny. Belly pale olive yellow.

Juvenile: Similar to adult, but edges to remiges are broader and more rufous; edges to to inner tertial also rufous.

Bare Parts

Iris: dark brown

Bill: black

Tarsi and toes: dark gray

Bare parts color data from Fitzpatrick (2004).


Total length: 12 cm (Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990), 13 cm (Ridgely and Tudor 1994, Fitzpatrick 2004)

Linear measurements:

male (n = 1?; Hellmayr 1927): wing length, 69.5 mm; tail length 64 mm; bill length 11 mm

Mass: mean 11.5 g (n = 2; range 11.5-11.5 g; Dunning 2008); 13 g (Fitzpatrick 2004)


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Geographic Variation



First described as Leptopogon rufipectus by Taczanowski 1884, with type locality of Ropaybamba and Ray-Urmana, above Chirimoto, Peru. The name Leptopogon rufipectus Taczanowksi 1884 is preoccupied by Tyrannula rufipectus Lafresnaye 1846 (now Leptopogon rufipectus), and so Hellmayr (1917) renamed this species as Leptopogon taczanowskii.

The phylogenetic relationships within Leptopogon were investigated by Bates and Zink (1994), who found that taczanowskii is sister to Leptopogon rufipectus (Rufous-breasted Flycatcher), which occurs from southwestern Venezuela to northern Peru. These two species are considered by some authors to represent a superspecies (Parker et al. 1985, Fitzpatrick 2004).

Phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequence data, from both mitochondrial and nuclear genes, indicates that Leptopogon is sister to the genus Mionectes (Ohlson et al. 2008, Tello et al. 2009).

Recommended Citation

Schulenberg, Thomas S., and Tom Johnson. 2012. Inca Flycatcher (Leptopogon taczanowskii), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: