Two subspecies currently recognized:
aurantioatrocristatus, described as T[yrannus] aurantio-atro cristatus (d'Orbigny and Lafresnaye 1837; type locality Valle Grande, Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Breeds from Bolivia east to southern Brazil, and south to central Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. After breeding, migrates north to winter in Amazonia, from eastern Colombia and southern Venezuela south at least to central Peru and to central Amazonian Brazil.
See Detailed Description.
pallidiventris, described as Empidonomus aurantio-atro-cristatus pallidiventris Hellmayr 1929; new name for Empidonomus aurantio-atro-cristatus minor Hellmayr 1927 (which is preoccupied by Empidonomus minor Stolzmann 1926); type locality São Luís, Maranhão, Brazil.
Resident in east central Brazil, from Pará east to Piauí, and south at least to Goiás.
This subspecies is similar to nominate aurantioatrocristatus, but is "much smaller, with shorter, weaker bill; back much lighter, pale grayish olive (instead of near hair brown); under parts likewise much paler (light mouse gray instead of mouse gray) and passing into whitish along middle line; under tail coverts naphthalene yellow, with very little grayish brown along the shaft" (Hellmayr 1927: 116-117). This subspecies also has a shorter primary projection (J. Rowlett, personal communication to R. Robb, 2008).