Neotropical Birds logo
Version 1.0

This is a historic version of this account.  Current version


Yellow-green Tyrannulet Phylloscartes flavovirens

Thomas S. Schulenberg
Version: 1.0 — Published May 15, 2015


Geographic Variation

Phylloscartes flavovirens is monotypic.


Related Species

Described as Leptopogon flavovirens Lawrence 1862; type locality "along the line of the Panama Rail Road", considered by Wetmore (1972: 539) to be "probably, but not certainly, in the vicinity of Lion Hill station, now submerged in Gatun Lake between Gamboa and Gatun".

Hellmayr (1927) and Zimmer (1940) suggested that Leptopogon flavovirens should be transferred to the genus Phylloscartes, a classification that has been adopted by all subsequent authors. There is no well resolved phylogeny for Phylloscartes. Zimmer (1940) suggested that flavovirens was related to Phylloscartes ventralis (Mottle-cheeked Tyrannulet) of central South America, and Hellmayr (1927) classified flavovirens as a subspecies of ventralis. Sibley and Monroe (1990) suggested the flavovirens formed a superspecies with Phylloscartes virescens (Olive-green Tyrannulet) of northeastern South America. Fitzpatrick (2004) suggested that flavovirens, virescens, and ventralis together formed a superspecies, and that all three also were related to Phylloscartes kronei (Restinga Tyrannulet) and to Phylloscartes beckeri (Bahia Tyrannulet).

Phylloscartes includes two groups of behaviorally distinct groups of small tyrant flycatchers: tyrannulets ("true" Phylloscartes, including flavovirens), which are more active foragers, with a horizontal (warbler-like) posture, and which frequently cock the tail; and the bristle-tyrants (formerly the genus Pogonotriccus), which have more upright posture, do not cock the tail, and are less active when foraging. No morphological differences between Phylloscartes and Pogonotriccus were detected by Traylor (1977), who united them into a single genus. Some authors (e.g. Hilty and Brown 1986, Fitzpatrick 2004) continue to recognize Pogonotriccus as a separate genus, based on the behavioral differences between them. Phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequence data, from both mitochondrial and nuclear genes, confirms that species of Phylloscartes and "Pogonotriccus" constitute a single clade, but too few taxa yet have been included in these studies to reveal whether the species of "Pogonotriccus" form a monophyletic unit (Ohlson et al. 2008, Tello et al. 2009).

Recommended Citation

Schulenberg, T. S. (2015). Yellow-green Tyrannulet (Phylloscartes flavovirens), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.yegtyr1.01