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Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet Life History


Rivers and Streams

Northern Beardless-Tyrannulets occur in woodlands, thickets, and edges near streams or dry washes. In Arizona they occur in woodlands next to streams at around 2,000–4,500 feet elevation. In Texas they use thorn forests with epiphytic mosses and forests of cedar elm and sugar hackberry. In Mexico they use forests near streams, scrubby thickets, and thorn forests.

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Northern Beardless-Tyrannulets forage for insects and spiders from the shrub layer to the canopy. They typically forage by hopping along branches and picking prey from leaves and twigs. On occasion they fly out to grab a flying insect. They supplement their diet with seeds and small berries.

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Nest Placement


Nest placement varies across the range, but in all cases the nest is well camouflaged. In Arizona, females often build nests in the webbing made by tent caterpillars in willows or cottonwoods. Nests can be anywhere from 6–40 feet above the ground. In Texas they often build nests in cedar elms between clumps of epiphytic plants.

Nest Description

Females build a globular or domed nest with an entrance near the top or the side. They weave grasses, dried leaves, bark, and plant fibers into a thick-walled nest. In Arizona, nests are often thinner and made with mesquite leaves and twigs and grasses.

Nesting Facts

Clutch Size:1-3 eggs
Number of Broods:1-2 broods
Egg Length:0.4-0.7 in (1.1-1.7 cm)
Egg Width:0.4-0.6 in (1-1.5 cm)
Incubation Period:14-16 days
Nestling Period:12 days
Egg Description:

Cream colored with fine brown speckling.

Condition at Hatching:

Naked with eyes closed.

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Foliage Gleaner

Northern Beardless-Tyrannulets move about more like a vireo than a flycatcher. They hop between branches and pick insects off leaves more often than they fly out to grab insects in midair. But like some other flycatchers, they flick their tail up and down both while moving and while perched. When they are agitated they often raise the feathers on the back of their head. Northern Beardless-Tyrannulets are solitary birds. During the breeding season mated pairs associate with each other, but outside of the breeding season they are generally alone.

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Low Concern

Northern Beardless-Tyrannulets are fairly common throughout their range, but in the United States they occur only rarely in southeastern Arizona and the southern tip of Texas, with a few records of sightings in southwestern New Mexico. Their limited range in the United States also means that their population is not monitored by the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates the global breeding population at 2 million. The species rates a 10 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score, which means it is not on the Partners in Flight Watch List and is a species of low conservation concern. However, habitat loss throughout its range may be a cause for concern. For example, in El Salvador Northern Beardless-Tyrannulets are now rarely detected following the loss of forested areas.

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Dunne, P. (2006). Pete Dunne's essential field guide companion. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, USA.

Lutmerding, J. A. and A. S. Love (2016). Longevity records of North American birds. Version 2016.1. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory, Laurel, MD, USA.

Partners in Flight (2017). Avian Conservation Assessment Database. 2017.

Sibley, D. A. (2014). The Sibley Guide to Birds, second edition. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY, USA.

Tenney, Chris R. (2000). Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet (Camptostoma imberbe), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

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