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Brown-crested Flycatcher

Myiarchus tyrannulus

Length: 8.75 Wingspan: 13 inches Seasonality: Non-resident in South Dakota
ID Keys: Lemon-yellow belly, gray breast and neck, brownish-gray face and neck, rufous on tail and wing primaries

Brown-crested Flycatcher - Myiarchus tyrannulusThe Brown-crested Flycatcher is one of several confusing, similar-looking flycatcher species with obvious crests and yellow on their bellies.  Parts of the Brown-crested Flycatcher's range overlap with the similar Dusky-capped Flycatcher, the Ash-throated Flycatcher, and the Great Crested Flycatcher.  The Brown-crested is the largest of the group, but size differences are minimal and aren't a reliable field mark.  The songs are different and can be used to help differentiate the species.

Habitat: In the United States portion of their range, they can be found in riparian woodlands, dry open woodlands, and saguaro cactus deserts. 

Diet: Primarily feeds on insects, but they will also sometimes take small vertebrates such as small lizards and young birds.  They will also feed on fruits and berries.

Behavior: Forages by observing from a perch and flying out and capturing insects in mid-air or by hovering and gleaning insects from foliage or tree branches.  They will sometimes also feed on the ground.

Nesting: The nest of a Brown-crested Flycatcher is in a tree cavity, either an old woodpecker hole or a natural cavity.  They will also nest in cavities in giant cacti.  The nesting cavity is lined with grasses, feathers, animal hair, and other material.  The female usually lays 4 or 5 eggs, and she alone incubates them.  When the eggs hatch, both parents help feed the young.  The young fledge after about 2 weeks.

Song: The song of a Brown-crested Flycatcher is a series of rolling phrases.

Migration: Considered a permanent resident in much of their tropical range in Mexico, Central America, and South America.  In the United States, they are but summer breeding residents.

Interactive eBird Map: Click to access an interactive eBird map of Brown-crested Flycatcher sightings

Similar Species: In range, most likely to be confused with the Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Ash-throated Flycatcher, or Great Crested Flycatcher.

Conservation Status: Populations are found over a wide geographic area and may be increasing.  The IUCN lists the Brown-crested Flycatcher as a species of "Least Concern".

Further Information: 1) Audubon Guide - Brown-crested Flycatcher

2) Whatbird - Brown-crested Flycatcher

3) Texas Breeding Bird Atlas - Brown-crested Flycatcher

Photo Information: Photo taken on April 21st, 2014 - Tucson, Arizona - Terry Sohl


Click below for a higher-resolution map
Brown-crested Flycatcher - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Non-resident in South Dakota

Additional Brown-crested Flycatcher Photos
Click for a higher-resolution version of these photos
Brown-crested Flycatcher - Myiarchus tyrannulus
Brown-crested Flycatcher - Myiarchus tyrannulus