Small in size, it measures 9.5 cm. The iris is pale yellow. above it is olive with whitish loruns; the wings darker, with two fine yellowish stripes. Underneath it is whitish, with a distinguished brownish streaking on the chest and throat.

Distribution and habitat

It is distributed in Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana and Brazil. See more details in Subspecies.

It inhabits the understory of deciduous forests and dry tropical and subtropical scrubs, mainly below 800 m of altitude.


Original description

The species A. pilaris was first described by the German naturalist Jean Cabanis in 1847 under the scientific name Colapterus pilaris; type locality «Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia».

The genus Atalotriccus was described by the American ornithologist Robert Ridgway in 1905.


The masculine generic name «Atalotriccus» derives from the Greek «atalos»: delicate, tender, and «trikkos»: small unidentified bird, in ornithology, «triccus» means «tyrant flytrap»; 8 and the name of the species «pilaris» , comes from the Latin «pilaris»: without hair, without crystal.


It is a very close relative of the genus Lophotriccus, where some authors place it, such as Ridgely & Tudor (2009), despite the lack of the crown pattern peculiar to the species of that genus. The subspecies venezuelensis differs marginally from the nominal one and would perhaps be better if joined to it.

The extensive genetic-molecular studies carried out by Tello et al. (2009) discovered a number of novel relationships within the Tyrannidae family that are not yet reflected in most classifications. Following these studies, Ohlson et al. (2013) proposed dividing Tyrannidae into five families. According to the proposed order, Atalotriccus belongs to the family Rhynchocyclidae Berlepsch, 1907, in a new subfamily Todirostrinae Tello, Moyle, Marchese & Cracraft, 2009 together with Taeniotriccus, Cnipodectes, Todirostrum, Poecilotriccus, Hemitriccus, Myiornis, Oncost Lophotriccus. The Brazilian Committee of Ornithological Records (CBRO) adopts this family, while the South American Classification Committee (SACC) awaits proposals to analyze the changes.


According to the classification of the International Ornithological Congress (IOC) and Clements Checklist v.2017, four subspecies are recognized, with their corresponding

Geographical distribution:

Atalotriccus pilaris wilcoxi Griscom, 1924 – western Panama (Chiriquí east to the Canal Zone).

Atalotriccus pilaris pilaris (Cabanis, 1847) – northern Colombia (Bolívar east to Guajira, south to Huila and Meta) and northwestern Venezuela (Zulia, Táchira).

Atalotriccus pilaris venezuelensis Ridgway, 1906 – northern Venezuela from Carabobo east to Sucre, and in the plains from west Apure east to Monagas.

Atalotriccus pilaris griseiceps (Hellmayr, 1911) – eastern Colombia, central eastern Venezuela (northern Amazonas, northern Bolívar, Delta Amacuro) and western Guyana. Far north of Brazil (north of Roraima) .4


It feeds on a large number of invertebrates, especially small coleopterans. Supplement their diet with small berries and some seeds.


In Venezuela nests have been found between June and July. In Colombia, six individuals were registered in reproductive condition between the months of March to April, in the Serranía de Perijá and in La Guajira. Also two females in position in October in Cúcuta. A female in reproductive condition was observed in January, in Huila. Individuals in reproductive condition and fledglings are apparently found throughout the year. Build a hanging nest close to the ground about 0.3 m long with a side entrance and a small canopy. It uses vegetable fibers for its construction.


Forages singly or in pairs and sometimes with mixed flocks in the lower part of dense vegetation. Searches or performs short flights of foliage, usually at eye level. It remains inconspicuous.

Conservation status

It considered as a Least Concern.


The quality of its high and strident call is reminiscent of that of the Andean cimerillo (Lophotriccus pileatus); typical phrases include a «kip-kip-trrr» or «kip-kip-trrrriiíp.»


Del-Hoyo, J., Elliot, A. y Christie D. A. 2004. Handbook of the Birds of the Wold. Vol 9. Cotingas to Pipits and Wagtails. Lynx editions. Barcelona. 863p.

Hilty, S. L. y W. L. Brown. 2001. Guía de las Aves de Colombia. Princetn. Univ. Press, Princeton, NJ.

IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. <>. Downloaded on 2 May 2012.

Jobling, C. 2010. The Helm dictionary of cientifics birds names. Christopher Helm and A & C Black Publishers Ltda. Londres. 433p.