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Smoke-colored Pewee Contopus fumigatus

  • © Joao Quental JQuental

At one point this was considered conspecific with the North and Central American Greater Pewee (Contopus pertinax), and the Dark Pewee (C. lugubris). This underscores the issue of little morphological differentiation in many tyrant flycatchers, and the fact that they can look quite similar in the museum tray while in the field differences can be more apparent. In particular, vocalizations in the field are of great importance in sorting out cryptic species such as this one. The Smoke-colored Pewee clearly differs in its territorial vocalization from that of the Greater Pewee, confirming that separation as species is the right decision. Curiously, within the fumigatus species there appear to be at least two vocal types, one in the north and one in the south suggesting that further research may again divide this species into at least two more. Smoke-colored Pewees are a large Contopus of the Andes and Tepuis; they are found mainly above 1000m and into the temperate zone, but always within forest habitats. Much more common than their territorial song is their pip-pip-pip call which is often an easy way to find this species in the field. They stay relatively high up, but like the edge of forests and often an isolated side branch on a large tree. Like a typical Contopus they feed by sallying out for insects and returning to their favorite perch.

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© Paul A. Schwartz

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Smoke-colored Pewee (Contopus fumigatus), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: