Friday 24 May
Rufous-sided pygmy-tyrant (Euscarthmus rufomarginatus)
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Rufous-sided pygmy-tyrant fact file
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Rufous-sided pygmy-tyrant description
The small rufous-sided pygmy tyrant is a member of the family Tyrannidae, a name taken from the Greek word tyrannas, meaning ‘lord’ or ‘ruler’, and refers to their aggressive behaviour (3). The plumage is mostly a drab brown, slightly darker on the wings, and, as the name suggest, the sides are a warm orange. The long, brown tail feathers are edged in yellowy-orange. The underparts are pale yellow, the throat is white, and the light brown face has a short, whitish ‘eyebrow’, or supercilium. The upper part of the beak is black, whilst the lower part is flesh-coloured, and the eyes are dark brown (2).Top
Rufous-sided pygmy-tyrant biology
The rufous-sided pygmy tyrant spends its time searching for food in pairs, usually in grass or low shrubs, and occasionally down on the ground, where it feeds on arthropods and small fruits (2). There has been nothing recorded about the breeding behaviour of this species, but other tyrant flycatchers lay two or three eggs, which are incubated by the female for 14 to 20 days, and the nestlings fledge after 14 to 23 days (5).Top
Rufous-sided pygmy-tyrant range
The rufous-sided pygmy tyrant occurs in east and central Brazil, north-eastern Bolivia, north-eastern Paraguay and southern Suriname. It was probably once widespread, but now occurs at scattered localities across this range (2) (4).Top
Rufous-sided pygmy-tyrant habitat
Inhabits pristine, shrubby grasslands and open savanna, up to an elevation of 1,000 metres. It may also occur in bamboo-dominated scrub (2).Top
Rufous-sided pygmy-tyrant status
Classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Rufous-sided pygmy-tyrant threats
It is thought that the loss of habitat is responsible for the rufous-sided pygmy tyrant’s decline and present rarity. The savanna region, or Cerrado, it inhabits has been greatly affected by human developments, such as pastures, plantations and highways. In 1998 it was estimated that around 67 percent of the Cerrado had been completely converted or modified in a major way. Further agricultural developments and human colonization continues to put pressure on the remaining natural vegetation (6). However, its absence in apparently suitable habitat suggests that there may also be other reasons for its rarity, which as yet remain unknown (2).Top
Rufous-sided pygmy-tyrant conservation
The rufous-sided pygmy tyrant occurs in most of the protected areas in the Cerrado, including the Noel Kempff Mercado National Park (7), the Nascentes do Rio Parnaíba National Park, and Jalapão State Park (4). Surveys have been undertaken in Brazil, which uncovered no additional populations (2), but there have been no other conservation measures targeted at this small bird. Conservation measures proposed by BirdLife International include further population surveys, studies into the species’ ecology, to assess the possible reasons for its rarity, and the removal of incentives encouraging habitat loss, particularly the planting of Eucalyptus trees on grasslands (4).Top
Find out more
For further information on this species see:
This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
- A very diverse phylum (a major grouping of animals) that includes crustaceans, insects and arachnids. All arthropods have paired jointed limbs and a hard external skeleton (exoskeleton).
- The act of incubating eggs; that is, keeping them warm so that development is possible.
IUCN Red List (January, 2007)
- del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (2004) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 9: Cotingas to Pipits and Wagtails. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
U.S. Geological Survey (June, 2007)
Birdlife International (May, 2009)
- Burnie, D. (2001) Animal. Dorling Kindersley, London.
World Wildlife Fund (June, 2007)
UNEP-WCMC (May, 2009)
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