Yellow-billed Tit-Tyrant Anairetes flavirostris

John W. Fitzpatrick, Andrew J. Spencer, and Kyra Leonardi
Version: 2.0 — Published July 9, 2020

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

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Sounds and Vocal Behavior

Like many Anairetes species, not especially vocal, though does have a distinctive Dawn Song as well as less distinctive vocalizations similar to others in the genus.


Vocal Array

Daytime Song. More variable than the Dawn Song, typically a dry, sputtering trill of ca 0.5 s around 4 kHz. Some versions are slightly downslurred, others overslurred, and still others even in pitch. Often preceeded by a single chip-like note. Some variations especially long (over 1 s), and trail off at the end. Can be mixed into the Chatter series or with Keers, especially by agitated birds.

Dawn Song. A stereotyped phrase that initiated with 1-2 quick chip-like notes, followed by a longer dry, sputtering trill, before ending in 1-2 more complicated notes that have a short, dry sputtering element immediately followed by a clearer overslurred sound. The whole phrase lasts ca 0.8 s, and is typically given at a regular rate of around 1 phrase/4-5 s.

Chatter. The most commonly heard calls of this species are hard to assign to a single vocalization type, but are typically a mix of chattering and sputtering notes that can each be given separately, or strung together into a longer series (most often by agitated birds). A regularly heard variation is a note around 2-6 kHz that starts out with a clear, rising element and then ends in a short, sputtery sound, the whole note lasting ca 0.2 s. This is sometimes mixed with Keers or Song-like phrases into more a complicated chattering.

Keer. A relatively clear, slightly nasal Keer note, most often given in a series. Relatively high pitched (the main energy around 4 kHz), with short (ca 0.15 s), strongly overslurred notes. Rarely heard, and may be associated with high alarm. Sometimes mixed with other calls into a Chatter series.

Geographic Variation

Not studied, but minor variation in Dawn Song should be studied to see if any geographic patterns apparent.


No information.

Daily Pattern of Vocalizing

Dawn Song typically given at first light, and rarely if ever heard after sunrise. Daytime Song can be heard at any time of day, though most common early and late. Other calls heard at any time of day.

Places of Vocalizing

Most vocalizations given when hidden in dense brush, though songs (especially Daytime Song) can be given from an exposed perch. Chatters, especially after playback when highly agitated, sometimes also given from an exposed perch.

Gender Differences

No information.

Repertoire and Delivery of Songs

No information.

Social Context and Presumed Functions of Vocalizations

Dawn Song apparently has a territorial function. The purpose of Daytime Song not know with certainty. Chatters mostly given in alarm, or when reacting to intruding conspecifics or in response to playback. Function of the Keer not well known but appears to mostly be given in alarm.

Nonvocal Sounds

Bill snaps sometimes heard from foraging birds.

Recommended Citation

Fitzpatrick, J. W., A. J. Spencer, and K. Leonardi (2020). Yellow-billed Tit-Tyrant (Anairetes flavirostris), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman, B. K. Keeney, and T. S. Schulenberg, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.ybttyr1.02