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Vermilion Flycatcher

From Opus

Female to the left, male to the right, Subspecies piuraePhoto by mmdnjeAyampe, Manabi Prov, Ecuador.
Female to the left, male to the right, Subspecies piurae
Photo by mmdnje
Ayampe, Manabi Prov, Ecuador.
Pyrocephalus rubinus

Includes: Scarlet Flycatcher, Darwin's Flycatcher, San Cristobal Flycatcher

Male, Subspecies flammeusPhoto by Stanley JonesAnahuac National Wildlife Refuge, Chambers County, Texas, USA, October 2017
Male, Subspecies flammeus
Photo by Stanley Jones
Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, Chambers County, Texas, USA, October 2017


[edit] Identification

JuvenilePhoto by bobsofpaCottonwood Campground, Big Bend National Park, Texas, USA, April 2016
Photo by bobsofpa
Cottonwood Campground, Big Bend National Park, Texas, USA, April 2016

L. 14 cm (5½ in)
Strongly sexually dimorphic. Male is unmistakable.
Male: Bright red underparts and cap, dark brownish wings, tail and mask.
Female: Dull brownish or greyish upperparts, dark streaked whitish underparts. In some subspecies they have pinkish or yellow flanks and/or crissum.

Immature: resembles female but if female has reddish-pink lower belly and crissum, then the first year bird will often have more yellowish or salmon wash.

[edit] Variation

Females from Galapagos have virtually unstreaked, yellow underparts.

Both sexes of race obscurus (from coastal Peru) also occur in a uniformly dark brown morph.

[edit] Similar Species

Females and immatures are potentially confusing, but can be separated from most other superficially similar species (e.g. Bran-colored Flycatcher) by the faint or complete lack of wing-bars.

[edit] Distribution

Dark morphPhoto by Stanley Jones Lima, Peru, September, 2009
Dark morph
Photo by Stanley Jones
Lima, Peru, September, 2009

It is widespread and generally common in most of central and northern South America, Central America, Mexico and southwestern United States.

Typically resident, but a large proportion of the population from the southernmost part of its range migrate north to spend the Austral winter in central South America. Additionally, most of the population in USA migrate south to spend the winter in Central America.

[edit] Taxonomy

[edit] Subspecies

Around 13 subspecies are generally recognised[1]:
Rubinus Group

  • P. r. flammeus: Arid south-western US to Baja California and north-western Mexico (Nayarit)
  • P. r. mexicanus: Arid south-western Texas to Guerrero, Oaxaca, Puebla and Veracruz
  • P. r. blatteus: South-eastern Mexico (southern Veracruz) to Guatemala and Honduras
  • P. r. pinicola: Lowland pine savanna of north-eastern Nicaragua
  • P. r. saturatus: North-eastern Colombia to northern Venezuela, Guyana and northern Brazil
  • P. r. piurae: Colombia (west of Eastern Andes) to westelrn Ecuador and north-western Peru
  • P. r. ardens: Northern Peru (Cajamarca, Amazonas and extreme eastern Piura)
  • P. r. obscurus: Western Peru (Lima)
  • P. r. cocachacrae: South-western Peru (Ica to Tacna) and adjacent northern Chile
  • P. r. major: South-eastern Peru (Cuzco and Puno)
  • P. r. rubinus: Extreme south-eastern Brazil to south-eastern Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, north-eastern Argentina

Galapagos Group

It has been suggested that the two Galapagos races, nanus and dubius, should be considered one or two separate species. Gill and Donsker have now split those two as Darwin's Flycatcher and San Cristobal Flycatcher (already extinct). Furthermore they have split rubinus as Scarlet Flycatcher, leaving the rest of the species as Vermilion Flycatcher, Pyrocephalus obscurus.

[edit] Habitat

Occurs in a wide range of open or semi-open habitats, including savanna, forest-edge, woodland, scrub, areas with scattered trees. Also in rural zones and city parks or gardens.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Diet

Feeds on small insects and spiders. It perches on an open branch, waiting for the prey. After locating it, the flycatcher pursues and captures it in flight.

[edit] Breeding

The courtship display of the male involves singing, raising its crest, fluffing its breast-feathers and, sometimes, delivering a butterfly or showy insect to the female to initiate copulation.

Breeding is seasonal, but timing varies depending on region. The nest is an open cup loosely constructed by moss, grass, twigs and spiderwebs. The 2-3 eggs are incubated entirely by the female, but both sexes feed the chicks.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from
  2. Gill, F and D Donsker (Eds). 2017. IOC World Bird Names (version 7.1). Available at

[edit] External Links

This link searches for videos spelt "Vermillion" Flycatcher


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