White-headed Marsh-tyrant (Arundinicola leucocephala)

White-headed Marsh-tyrant

White-headed Marsh-tyrant (Arundinicola leucocephala)

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Tyrannidae | [latin] Arundinicola leucocephala | [UK] White-headed Marsh-tyrant | [FR] Tyran d’eau a tete blanche | [DE] Sumpftyrann | [ES] Viudita Cabeciblanca | [NL] Witkopwatertiran


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range

Physical charateristics

The adult White-headed Marsh Tyrant is 12.7 cm long and weighs 15 g. The male is entirely brown-black, apart from the relatively large white head and yellowish lower mandible. The female has brown upperparts and wings and a black tail. Her underparts, sides of the head and forecrown are dull white.

Listen to the sound of White-headed Marsh-tyrant

[audio:http://www.aviflevoland.nl/sounddb/W/White-headed Marsh-tyrant.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 12 cm size max.: 13 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 4  


South America : widespread


This species is found in marshy savannahs, reedbeds and the edges of mangrove swamps.


The nest is a feather-lined oval ball of grasses and other plant material, with a porched side entrance. It is placed at the end of a branch near or over water. Both sexes incubate the typical clutch of two or three creamy-white eggs, which are marked with a few brown spots. Cowbirds often parasitise the nest.

Feeding habits

White-headed Marsh Tyrants wait on an exposed low perch in marsh vegetation or a branch near water, occasionally sallying out to feed on insects, their staple diet, before returning to the perch. They often pick off insects from the vegetation, but more frequently out of mid-air and even from shallow water.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
White-headed Marsh-tyrant status Least Concern


Resident, but will wander when river levels change.

Distribution map

White-headed Marsh-tyrant distribution range map

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