The Lesser Elaenia: A Fascinating Tropical Bird

Imagine walking through a lush, tropical forest, the air filled with the calls of numerous exotic birds. Suddenly, you come across a small, compact bird with grayish-olive feathers on its upperparts and a bright yellow color on its underparts. This is the Lesser Elaenia, a fascinating bird that calls the tropical and subtropical forests of Central and South America its home. In this article, we will explore the unique characteristics and behavior of this beautiful species, from its scientific name to its habitat, diet, and distribution Lesser Elaenia.

Scientific Classification and Name

The Lesser Elaenia, scientifically known as Elaenia chiriquensis, belongs to the Animalia kingdom, the Chordata phylum, and the Aves class. Within the order Passeriformes, it is part of the family Tyrannidae, which consists of various passerine birds commonly known as tyrant flycatchers. The scientific name of this species is derived from the Greek words "elaion" meaning "olive tree" and "chiriquensis" referring to the Chiriquí Province in Panama where it was first identified.


The Lesser Elaenia is primarily found in tropical and subtropical moist forests, as well as montane forests. These types of forests are characterized by high humidity and rainfall, creating the perfect environment for this small bird to thrive. They can also be found in areas with dense vegetation, such as woodland edges, secondary forests, and forest clearings.

Eating Habits

As insectivorous birds, Lesser Elaenias feed on insects as their primary source of food. Their diet mainly consists of beetles, flies, grasshoppers, and other insects. They are known to consume small fruits and berries occasionally, especially during the non-breeding season when insects are scarce Lesser Antillean Pewee.

Feeding Method

The feeding method of Lesser Elaenias is known as "gleaning." This means that they search for insects by meticulously inspecting leaves and twigs, picking off small insects with their beaks. They are also known to hover around leaves and branches, catching flying insects in mid-air. This method of feeding is highly efficient and allows the Lesser Elaenia to catch insects with great precision.

Geographic Distribution and Country of Origin

The Lesser Elaenia is found throughout Central and South America, from Mexico to Argentina. It is commonly spotted in countries such as Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina. It is a relatively common species in its range, and its population is stable.

Appearance and Body Shape

Measuring only about 4.5 inches in length, the Lesser Elaenia is a small and compact bird. It has a short, stocky body with a round head and a relatively long, straight black bill. Its wings are rounded and its tail is short. The plumage of the Lesser Elaenia is predominantly grayish-olive on its upperparts and yellowish on its underparts. It also has a white eyering and distinctive white spots on its wings and tail, adding to its unique appearance.

Behavior and Adaptations

The Lesser Elaenia is known to be a curious and social bird. They often form small groups and forage together, making their way through the forest in search of insects. They are also vocal birds, and their high-pitched, whistling calls are a common sound in their habitat. During the breeding season, male Lesser Elaenias defend their territory by singing, while the females build their nests in the dense undergrowth of the forest.

One of the notable adaptations of the Lesser Elaenia is its strong, short legs, which allow it to perch on thin twigs and branches while gleaning for insects. Their small size and compact body shape also make them highly maneuverable, allowing them to navigate through dense vegetation with ease.

Threats and Conservation Status

The Lesser Elaenia is not currently facing any major threats, and its population is considered stable. However, like many other bird species, it is vulnerable to habitat loss due to deforestation. The destruction of its natural habitat in many areas of Central and South America could potentially have a negative impact on its population in the future. Nevertheless, the IUCN Red List has classified the Lesser Elaenia as a species of "Least Concern."

Final Thoughts

The Lesser Elaenia is a captivating bird with many unique features. Its small size and compact body, combined with its beautiful plumage and curious behavior, make it a favorite among bird enthusiasts. Furthermore, its role in controlling insect populations in tropical forests makes it a crucial part of its ecosystem. As we continue to learn more about these fascinating creatures, let us also strive to protect their natural habitat, ensuring the survival of this little bird for generations to come.

Lesser Elaenia

Lesser Elaenia

Bird Details Lesser Elaenia - Scientific Name: Elaenia chiriquensis

  • Categories: Birds L
  • Scientific Name: Elaenia chiriquensis
  • Common Name: Lesser Elaenia
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Tyrannidae
  • Habitat: Tropical and subtropical moist forests, montane forests
  • Eating Habits: Insectivorous
  • Feeding Method: Gleans insects from vegetation
  • Geographic Distribution: Central and South America
  • Country of Origin: Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina
  • Location: Central and South America
  • Color: Grayish-olive on upperparts, yellowish on underparts
  • Body Shape: Small and compact

Lesser Elaenia

Lesser Elaenia

  • Length: 11-12 cm
  • Adult Size: Small
  • Age: Unknown
  • Reproduction: Sexual
  • Reproduction Behavior: Unknown
  • Migration Pattern: Migratory
  • Social Groups: Solitary or in pairs
  • Behavior: Active and agile
  • Threats: Least Concern
  • Conservation Status: LC
  • Unique Features: None
  • Fun Facts: Lesser Elaenia is a small bird that is known for its energetic and acrobatic flight.
  • Reproduction Period: Unknown
  • Hive Characteristics: Unknown
  • Lifespan: Unknown

The Lesser Elaenia: A Fascinating Tropical Bird

Elaenia chiriquensis

A Closer Look at the Active and Agile Lesser Elaenia

Nature is full of wonders that never cease to amaze us. From majestic creatures to tiny insects, every organism has its own unique features that make them stand out in the natural world. One such creature is the Lesser Elaenia, a small bird that captures our attention with its swift movements and energetic behavior. In this article, we will explore the lesser known aspects of this bird, including its physical characteristics, behavior, and conservation status DatuSarakai.Com.

Physical Characteristics

The Lesser Elaenia, also known as Elaenia furfuracea, is a small bird that belongs to the tyrant flycatcher family. It is found in Central and South America, ranging from Mexico to Argentina. The average length of a Lesser Elaenia is 11-12 cm, making it one of the smallest birds in its family.

The bird has a dull brownish-grey upper body with a lighter grey underbody. It has a small round head with a thin, pointy beak that is used for catching insects. The eyes are large and dark, allowing the bird to have excellent vision while hunting. One of the unique features of the Lesser Elaenia is that it has a black stripe on its wings, which is not commonly seen in other flycatcher species.


Although not much is known about the behavior of the Lesser Elaenia, it is believed to be a solitary or pair-living bird. It is highly active and agile, often seen darting around in the air to catch its prey Little Brown Bustard. Its acrobatic flight patterns have earned it the nickname "flying Tasmanian devil".

The Lesser Elaenia is a migratory bird, which means that it has a distinct pattern of movement from one place to another. During the breeding season, which is around September to April, the birds migrate from their wintering grounds in South America to their breeding grounds in Mexico, the Caribbean, and the southern United States. This journey can cover a distance of up to 5,000 kilometers.

Reproduction and Lifespan

The reproductive behavior of the Lesser Elaenia is still a mystery to scientists. We do know that it is a sexual reproducer, meaning that it requires a mate to produce offspring. However, the exact time of its reproductive period and its mating rituals remain unknown.

Similarly, the lifespan of the Lesser Elaenia is also unknown. It is believed that its lifespan is relatively short, with an average of only 2-3 years. However, some individuals may live longer if they have a favorable habitat and face minimal threats.

Threats and Conservation Status

The Least Concern (LC) conservation status of the Lesser Elaenia indicates that it is not currently at risk of extinction. However, like many other bird species, it is facing several threats that may impact its population in the future. One of the major threats is habitat loss due to deforestation and agricultural practices. As a migratory bird, it also faces dangers during its long journey, such as predation and collisions with buildings.

Fortunately, some conservation efforts are being made to protect the Lesser Elaenia. For instance, several protected areas, such as national parks and wildlife refuges, provide critical habitats for this bird. Additionally, reforestation projects and sustainable land-use practices can help create a more suitable environment for the Lesser Elaenia to thrive.

Fun Facts About Lesser Elaenia

- The Lesser Elaenia is known for its fantastic flying abilities. It can change its direction in an instant and can even fly backwards.
- The scientific name of the Lesser Elaenia, furfuracea, means "furry" in Latin, referring to the bird's fluffy appearance.
- The Lesser Elaenia is part of a group of birds called "tyrant flycatchers" because of their aggressive and tyrannical behavior towards other birds.
- These tiny birds can produce a surprisingly loud and sharp "chip" call.
- The Lesser Elaenia is a fast and agile insect hunter, and it can eat up to 1,000 insects in a single day.

In Conclusion

The Lesser Elaenia may be small, but it certainly leaves a big impression. Its swift movements, unique physical features, and remarkable migratory journey make it a fascinating bird to observe. While there is still much to learn about this avian species, one thing is for sure – the Lesser Elaenia is a vital part of our ecosystem and deserves our efforts to protect it for future generations.

Elaenia chiriquensis

The Lesser Elaenia: A Fascinating Tropical Bird

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