Noronha Elaenia Elaenia ridleyana


Justification of Red List Category
This species qualifies as Vulnerable owing to its very small population.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number at least 500 mature individuals, roughly equivalent to 750 individuals in total (T. Mark in litt. 2003).

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be stable.

Distribution and population

Elaenia ridleyana is confined to the Atlantic archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, Brazil, where it is known from the main island and Ilha Rata, the largest associated islet (Olson 1994). It is reportedly the least common of the three resident landbirds. Population estimates vary between slightly over 100 (Ridgely and Tudor 1994) and c.1,000 individuals (Oren 1984). Probably the most comprehensive survey estimated a population of c.480 birds (Antas et al. 1990), although a more recent estimate has suggested a population of c.750 birds (T. Mark in litt. 2003).


It inhabits scrub, woodland and gardens. The diet is insects and small fruit, particularly those of the endemic tree Ficus noronhae (Antas et al. 1990). Breeding presumably occurs between February and May (Antas et al. 1990). The nest is constructed with the tendrils of Cucurbitaceae and a few twigs, and located in the bare branches of a Burra, Erythrina or cashew-nut tree (Oren 1982).


It was presumably historically more numerous as the island was reportedly covered in forest when discovered in 1503 (Olson 1981). All large trees have been cut and all remaining vegetation is secondary (Olson 1981). There are proposals to further develop tourism and this would cause yet greater damage to its habitat. It may suffer predation from introduced mammals such as rats and cats (A. Schulz Neto in litt. 1999). Children target birds with slingshots and presumably kill some individuals of this species (Olson 1994). Fire may pose a credible threat, and an introduced vine is reported to threaten remaining preferred habitat (T. Mark in litt. 2003).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
The species is considered Vulnerable at the national level in Brazil (Silveira and Straube 2008, MMA 2014). Fernando de Noronha is a Marine National Park, although the actual protection that this confers is unknown.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey to provide a more accurate estimate of population size. Clarify the species's habitat requirements (A. Schulz Neto in litt. 1999). Study any problems caused by introduced species and assess methods for their control (A. Schulz Neto in litt. 1999). If appropriate, initiate control measures against introduced species. Effectively protect areas of occupied habitat from development and any other threats. Reduce persecution by children through awareness campaigns.


17 cm. Dull grey-brown flycatcher. Paler yellow to whitish below. Bold whitish wing-bars. Similar spp. Resembles allopatric Large Elaenia E. spectabilis. Smaller Noronha Vireo Vireo gracilirostris has no wing-bars. Voice Various vocalisations including short, strong thiu-thiu and monotonous üuu, üuu whistles.


Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Capper, D., Harding, M., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A., Williams, R.

Schulz Neto, A., Marks, T.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Elaenia ridleyana. Downloaded from on 10/08/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 10/08/2022.