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Version 1.0

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Johnson's Tody-Flycatcher Poecilotriccus luluae

Thomas S. Schulenberg
Version: 1.0 — Published July 3, 2014


Distinguishing Characteristics

Tody-flycatchers of the genus Poecilotriccus are small bodied, short tailed tyrant flycatchers with long, flattened bills. They resemble tody-flycatchers of the genus Todirostrum, but the bills of Poecilotriccus are shorter and narrower, and Poecilotriccus do not cock the tail, as do many species of Todirostrum. Johnson's Tody-Flycatcher is a very attractive, well marked species. Almost the entire head is cinnamon rufous, with a white chin and a gray nape and sides to the neck. The back and rump are olive. The underparts are yellow, washed on the breast with olive. The wings are mostly black, with two narrow yellow wingbars, and narrow yellow white edges to the remiges and tertials. The sexes of Johnson's Tody-Flycatcher are similar.

Similar Species

The small size, all cinnamon rufous head, and yellow breast and belly of Johnson's Tody-Flycatcher are highly distinctive within its small geographic range, and this species is unlikely to be confused with any other species. Rufous-headed Pygmy-Tyrant (Pseudotriccus ruficeps) has olive (not bright yellow) underparts, rufous or reddish brown wings, and lacks the white chin and gray nape. The pygmy-tyrant also has different vocalizations, and is restricted to forest interior. Johnson's Tody-Flycatcher is similar to Rufous-crowned Tody-Flycatcher (Poecilotriccus ruficeps), which occurs from Venezuela south to extreme northern Peru, but the distributions of these two species are allopatric. Furthermore, the two species have different face patterns: the auriculars of Rufous-crowned Tody-Flycatcher are buff or whitish, and are bordered by a narrow black line that also crosses the rear crown. Rufous-crowned Tody-Flycatcher also has a white throat (rather than a white chin bordered below by cinnamon rufous).

Detailed Description

The following description is based on Johnson and Jones (2001):

Adult: Sexes similar. Most of the head and throat are pale rufous or cinnamon rufous, with a broad gray band across the nape, extending forward in a narrow arc below the auriculars. Black and rump yellowish olive green. Wings black, greater and middle secondary coverts narrowly tipped with buff or buff yellow. Tertials edged with pale yellow, and narrow edging of yellowish olive green on the outer webs of the remaining remiges. The chin is white, as is a narrow white band below the cinnamon rufous throat. The breast is yellowish olive green; the belly and undertail coverts are orange yellow or yellow ochre.

Juvenile: Undescribed.



Bare Parts

Iris: brown, dark brown

Bill: black

Tarsi and toes: pale gray, gray, pinkish gray, blue gray

Bare parts color date from Johnson and Jones (2001).


Total length: 9.5 cm (Ridgely and Tudor 2009, Schulenberg et al. 2010)

Linear measurements (from Johnson and Jones 2001):


wing length: mean 48.4 mm SD 1.36 (n = 10)

tail length: mean 38.8 mm SD 1.12 (n = 9)

bill length: mean 7.06 mm SD 0.46 (n = 10)


wing length: mean 47.2 mm SD 0.81 (n = 8)

tail length: mean 36.7 mm SD 1.89 (n = 7)

bill length: mean 6.9 mm SD 0.35 (n = 8)

Mass (from Johnson and Jones 2001):

male, mean 7.27 g SD 0.49 (n = 10)

female, mean 7.21 g SD 0.61 (n = 7)

Recommended Citation

Schulenberg, T. S. (2014). Johnson's Tody-Flycatcher (Poecilotriccus luluae), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.johtot1.01