Polioptila is a genus of small insectivorous birds in the family Polioptilidae. They are found in North and South America.

California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Polioptilidae
Genus: Polioptila
Sclater P.L., 1855

The genus Polioptila was introduced by the English zoologist Philip Sclater in 1855. Although he listed several members, he did not specify a type species.[1] This was designated by the American ornithologist Spencer Baird in 1864 as Montacilla caerulea, Linnaeus, now the blue-grey gnatcatcher, Polioptila caerulea.[2][3] The name of the genus combines the Ancient Greek words πολιος polios "grey" and πτιλον ptilon "plumage".[4]

The genus contains 16 species:[5]


  1. Sclater, P.L. (1855). "On the genus Culicivora of Swainson, and its component species". Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. 23: 11–12.
  2. Baird, Spencer Fullerton (1864). Review of American birds, in the Museum of the Smithsonian Institution. Part 1, North and Middle America. Washington: Smithsonian Institution. p. 67.
  3. Mayr, Ernst; Paynter, Raymond A. Jr, eds. (1964). Check-list of Birds of the World. Volume 10. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. p. 448.
  4. Jobling, J.A. (2019). del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J.; Christie, D.A.; de Juana, E. (eds.). "Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  5. Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2019). "Dapple-throats, sugarbirds, fairy-bluebirds, kinglets, hyliotas, wrens, gnatcatchers". World Bird List Version 9.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 27 January 2019.

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