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Serpophaga cinerea

Torrent Tyrannulet

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Tyrannidae
  • Polytypic 2 Subspecies

Authors: Montgomery, Graham

Serpophaga cinerea

Oxapampa, Pasco, Peru; 27 September 2003 © Alejandro Tabini

The Torrent Tyrannulet is a small, distinctive flycatcher that lives along fast-moving mountain streams from Costa Rica south to northern Bolivia. This species often perches on rocks or low branches in or close to the edge of streams where it forages by making short flights or gleaning rocks to capture insects (not snakes, as implied by the etymology of the name of the genus). The flight of this species is low, direct, and fast.  orrent Tyrannulet is bold and conspicuous, and is generally easy to see where it occurs. The genus Serpophaga shows a distinctive shape and posture for a flycatcher, with sturdy legs, a pot-belly, a large head, and a medium length tail that is often held cocked. The body plumage of Torrent Tyrannulet is mostly pale gray, with a paler belly and a whitish throat, with a dark slaty cap that extends down below the eye, as well as blackish wings and tail.

Recommended Citation

Montgomery, Graham. 2012. Torrent Tyrannulet (Serpophaga cinerea), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

This map is based on maps available from the NatureServe InfoNatura website, for the distribution in Central America and/or Caribbean, and on a map provided by Robert S. Ridgely, for the South American distribution.

The data for the InforNatura maps are provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE.

  • Migration/Movement:Resident (nonmigratory)
  • Primary Habitat:Streams
  • Foraging Strata:Aerial
  • Foraging Behavior:Sally
  • Diet:Aquatic invertebrates
  • Sociality:Solitary/Pairs
  • Mating System:Monogamy
  • Nest Form:Cup
  • Clutch: 2 - 2
  • IUCN Status:Least Concern