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Version 1.0

This is a historic version of this account.


Paltry Tyrannulet Zimmerius vilissimus

Andrew W. Jones
Version: 1.0 — Published December 15, 2017

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

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Not surprisingly, vocalizations of Paltry Tyrannulet vary geographically (see Systematics). Central American populations of Paltry Tyrannulet give a plaintive, monotonous call throughout the day, and may string these calls together into a song. This call typically is transcribed as pyeer or pyeeu, though there is variation and the call may be a two-syllabled peeyup. Both sexes apparently give these calls. The dawn song (presumably given only by males) consists of a series of notes, the first a slow, dropping syllable and the rest short and rising. Skutch (1960) described this song as yer-de-dee, often followed by a trill.

The vocalizations of the South American populations are less well characterized, but the call notes are longer, recalling a higher-pitched version of Dusky-capped Flycatcher (Myiarchus tuberculifer).

Skutch (1997) indicated that the Paltry Tyrannulet's dawn singing bout is longer than that of any other tyrannid in Costa Rica. He also briefly mentions a "song" given at the nest by the female just before a brooding bout, which he described as only a soft murmur with a very low volume.

Additional audio recordings of vocalizations of Paltry Tyrannulet can be heard at Macaulay Library and at xeno-canto, where recordings are partitioned between nominate vilissimus, parvus, the improbus group, and petersi (see Geographic Variation).

Nonvocal Sounds

None reported.

Recommended Citation

Jones, A. W. (2017). Paltry Tyrannulet (Zimmerius vilissimus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.