Tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Variegated Flycatcher (Empidonomus varius) - HBW 9, p. 416

French: Tyran tacheté German: Schuppenrücken-Maskentyrann Spanish: Tuquito Rayado

Taxonomy: Muscicapa varia Vieillot, 1818, Paraguay.
Despite significant differences in plumage, a close but equivocal relationship between present genus, Griseotyrannus and Tyrannus has been suggested on basis of their shared possession of conspicuous notching on inner webs of outer primaries (an unusual trait, found in only seven or eight distantly related genera in other tyrannid subfamilies); that these three form a monophyletic group was strongly supported in recent analyses of molecular-sequence data. Races differ in migratory behaviour, possibly represent two separate species; further study required. Birds taken from N Vene.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Muscicapa varia Vieillot, 1818, Paraguay.
Despite significant differences in plumage, a close but equivocal relationship between present genus, Griseotyrannus and Tyrannus has been suggested on basis of their shared possession of conspicuous notching on inner webs of outer primaries (an unusual trait, found in only seven or eight distantly related genera in other tyrannid subfamilies); that these three form a monophyletic group was strongly supported in recent analyses of molecular-sequence data. Races differ in migratory behaviour, possibly represent two separate species; further study required. Birds taken from N Venezuela (Carabobo) and E Colombia described as race septentrionalis; said to be darker above with heavier streaking below, but indistinguishable from nominate, and presumably relating to migrants from S. Two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • rufinus (Spix, 1825) - Venezuela (E base of Andes in Portuguesa and Barinas, E Falcón and N cordilleras E to Sucre and Delta Amacuro, also throughout Bolívar and Amazonas), the Guianas and N & E Brazil (E to Pará and SE to Bahia, S along R Madeira to near border with Bolivia).
  • varius (Vieillot, 1818) - breeds C & E Bolivia, C & S Brazil (Mato Grosso E to Espírito Santo, S to Rio Grande do Sul), N Argentina (S at least to Tucumán, Santa Fe and Entre Ríos, possibly farther S), Paraguay and Uruguay; S breeders migrate N into range of nominate and NW as far as W Colombia.