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White-winged Black-Tyrant Knipolegus aterrimus

  • © Pablo Andrés Cáceres Contreras

The White-winged Black-Tyrant is actually a rather flashy bird. When perched the male sits in an obvious spot, an isolated branch, a post, and he looks largely black with a slight gloss. However once he gets on the wing a huge white wing patch, made up by white bases to the secondaries and primaries becomes evident. As is typical of this genus, the bill is a blue-gray with a black tip. Females are quite different, both in plumage and behavior. The females stay better hidden, and are seldom as easy to see as the males. The plumage of females varies geographically. There are four distinct subspecies with differing female plumage. The widespread nominate form found east of the Andes in a large area in southern South America the females are largely cinnamon below, browner above, with cinnamon wingbars and cinnamon rump and tail base. Females from the Andes of southern Peru and Bolivia (anthracinus) are duller, with very restricted cinnamon at the tail base. Then it gets interesting! Farther north in northern Peru (heterogyna) females are very pale on the rump and tail base, creamy and again creamy below with pale wingbars. An isolated population in eastern Brazil (franciscanus) is very different with the females lacking cinnamon on the tail base and being densely streaked below. Many species in this genus have black males, and much of the difference between species tends to be in the female plumages, suggesting that the White-winged Black-Tyrant is comprised of more than one species!

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© Mark Robbins

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

Recommended Citation

White-winged Black-Tyrant (Knipolegus aterrimus), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: