Scale crested pygmy tyrant in Costa Rica. Photo courtesy by Rhett Butler (2008).
The scale-crested pygmy tyrant is a species of tyrant flycatcher that belongs to the passerine order of birds, a group known as ‘perching birds’ which includes many ‘songbirds’. Like other tyrants, the scale-crested pygmy tyrant feeds primarily on insects.
The scale-crested pygmy tyrant is found in tropical forests, including lowland areas and montane forests, and ranges from Costa Rica to Peru and Venezuela. While relatively common — the scale-crested pygmy tyrant is classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List, meaning it is not particularly endangered — the species moves quickly and is most active in the shade of the forest understory, making it somewhat difficult to see unless pinpointed by its whistle-like call.
The individual pictured above was captured by scientists while conducting research in Las Cruces Biological Station, Costa Rica. The ornithologists are attaching a plastic band around the bird’s ankle so it can be recorded if captured again in the future.
The scale-crested pygmy tyrant is mongabay.com’s mascot and we offset carbon dioxide emissions associated with travel, servers, computers, and other equipment by supporting an effort to protect scale-crested pygmy tyrant habitat in the Darien region of Colombia. The forest is managed by Embera indigenous and maroon communities. Threats to the region include cattle ranching, illegal logging, oil palm, bananas, and mining.