Caribbean Elaenia (Elaenia martinica)

Caribbean Elaenia


The Caribbean elaenia (Elaenia martinica) is a species of bird in the family Tyrannidae found in the West Indies and parts of Central America. Its natural habitats are tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forest, subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest, and heavily degraded former forest.

Distribution And Habitat

The Caribbean Elaenia occurs from Puerto Rico through the islands of the eastern Caribbean, as well as in the Cayman Islands, some of The Bahamas, and islands off the Yucatán Peninsula (Oberle 2018). It is a common resident in Puerto Rico, regularly seen in the Boquerón Nature Reserve and Guánica State Forest (Oberle 2018), and in Vieques (Gemmill 2015). The species is believed to be a new arrival on Puerto Rico, at least on the south coast (Faaborg and others 1984), likely colonizing from the Lesser Antilles where it is common. This species is common along the lowland dry scrub forests especially along the south coast (Oberle 2018). The atlas fieldwork yielded a total of 145 records within 71 hexagons or 15 percent of the 479 total hexagons (see map). Of the 71 hexagons where this species was found, breeding met the atlas definition of confirmed in 13 percent (9) of the hexagons, probable in 31 percent (22), and possible in 55 percent (39), while the species was observed in 1 percent (1) of the hexagons but without evidence of breeding (see map). Caribbean Elaenia distribution. The map shows the highest breeding code by hexagon and overlaying the ecological life zones in Puerto Rico. Note: percentages may not total 100 due to rounding.

Caribbean Elaenia Distribution

Breeding Habits

The Caribbean Elaenia constructs a shallow cup of twigs nest in a shrub or tree (Raffaele 205Caribbean Elaenia/Juí Blancoand others 1998). Atlas results indicate that the breeding activity extends throughout the year but overall increases from January to July (see chart). Results show that even though this species breeds in all ecological life zones, it is most often reported from the subtropical dry and subtropical moist forest life zones (67 and 26 percent of the hexagons, respectively) (see table and map).


The Caribbean Elaenia is classified as a species of least concern by the IUCN (BirdLife International 2017). Locally, this species is not listed in any of the threatened categories of PRDNER or USFWS. In Puerto Rico, the Caribbean Elaenia has a protected habitat in land of about 18 percent or 298 km2 of the total area covered by the hexagons where evidence of breeding was found for this species (1673 km2).