Date:October 25, 2020

It May be Tiny, But The Many-Colored Rush Tyrant Is So Vibrant, It Takes The Whole Spotlight

Attractive, multicolored little bird of fresh and brackish marshes with rushes and reed beds; known in some areas as Siete Colores (seven colors). Feeds actively in rushes and adjacent vegetation, sometimes on adjacent muddy shorelines. Boldly patterned and colorful plumage is unique among flycatchers and should not be confused if seen well; note the bold white wing band and whitetail sides, which show distinctly in flight.

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The Many-colored Rush-Tyrant has a greenish mantle, blue sides of the head, black wings, and yellow underparts with a black broken breast band. The immature is a dull version of the adult with feathers fringed with brown. The iris is pale in the adult but dark in the juvenile. The adult in the southern end of their range, and in the Titicaca Basin have a dark iris. It forages exclusively at cattail stands and reed beds in freshwater bodies of water. The adult plumage is unmistakable in its very specific habitat. The immature superficially resembles a Wren-like Rush-Tyrant.

This is called a Many-colored Rush Tyrant and they only grow to be about three inches long on average.

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The Many-colored Rush-Tyrant is widespread along the coastal lowland of western Peru. It is also local to large bodies of water in the Andes. The Many-colored Rush-Tyrant also occurs in Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Chile, and southernmost Brazil.

Despite being so tiny, they managed to have seven different colors into their tiny package.

In fact, their coloring is what has earned them the nickname Siete Colores, which means “seven colors” in Spanish.

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. [h/t: BirdLife International]

The largest concentrations can be found in Argentina and Uruguay, with pockets in Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and southernmost Brazil.

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They forage for insects in the marshes and reeds surrounding lakes and rivers, and have unusually large, strong feet for their size. That helps them perch on the reeds while waiting for prey.

Though their colors make them popular photography subjects, they can be hard to get a clear pic of.

Instagram | @klassmannphoto

The little, round dudes are quick and agile, rarely staying in one spot long enough for a photographer to compose and focus a shot.  [h/t: American Bird Conservancy]