Unlike many North American flycatchers, the male Vermilion
Flycatcher is brilliantly colored, with bright red underparts and head, with
darker upperparts and a dark eye mask (see photo to the right). Females
are much more muted, being primarily gray and white (see photo at the bottom of
the page). Vermilion Flycatchers normally only reach the United States in
the extreme Southwest. Small numbers of birds do winter near the Gulf
Coast, but they only rarely stray as far north as South Dakota. They can
also be found throughout Mexico, and Central and South America. Males
perform a spectacular flight display, puffing themselves up, rising high in the
air, and then fluttering downward again in a process that may repeat itself many
found in open country with scattered trees, normally near rivers, streams, and
lakes. They may also occasionally be found in grassland or desert areas
far from water.
Diet: Feeds exclusively on insects.
Behavior: Forages by observing from a perch, and
flying out to capture insects when spotted, either catching them in mid-air,
or pouncing on them on the ground or in foliage.
Breeding: Non-breeder in South Dakota.
Song: The song is a high, fluttering series of
rising and falling notes, often given while in flight.
Migration: Generally a permanent resident throughout most of its range, although some
birds at the northern end of its range (southwestern U.S.) may move southward or
to lower elevations in the winter.
Conservation Status: Surveys have shown declines
in population over recent decades.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology - Vermilion Flycatcher
Photo Information: December 9th, 2010 - Near Chandler,
Arizona - Terry Sohl