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Brown-Crested Flycatcher
Myiarchus tyrannulus
brown crested flycatcher
Brown-crested flycatcher, photographed at Lucky Hammock, Southern Glades Wildlife and Environmental Area near Homestead, April 2015.
brown crested flycatcher

Somewhere along the line, this bird made a wrong turn. And has kept making the same wrong turn. The brown-crested flycatcher, Myiarchus tyrannulus, isn't supposed to be within a thousand miles of South Florida, give or take. No distribution map for this bird shows it any place east of the Mississippi in the United States, let alone as far east as Florida.

But here it is, nonetheless. At least a few of them are.

The brown-crested flycatcher is more typically found in southern Texas, a small corner of New Mexico Arizona, sometimes in California as well as Mexico, Central America and South America to the Amazon Basin and Argentina. California lists it as a species of concern.

Why it's here, how it got here and from where it came apparently are unanswered questions. It is a regular winter visitor to the tropical hardwood hammocks in and near Everglades National Park and very occasionally other parts of the state but not in the Panhandle or the northern Peninsula (which probably rules out the Gulf Coast as the migratory route). The earliest recorded visit was way back in 1953 on Big Pine Key.

These birds are gray-brown, with a pale throat, lemon yellow belly, broad white wing bars and rufous tones on the outer edge of the wings and in the tail.

Brown-crested flycatchers forage in flight or while perched, looking for a flying bug or something sitting on a branch or the trunk of a tree. Occasionally they will forage on the ground. They are known to take hummingbirds from time to time.

brown crested flycatcher

During breeding season, they are strictly carnivores, but at other times of the year, they will eat fruit along with their usual diet of bugs.

Brown-crested flycatchers nest in tree cavities, usually fairly high up, and sometimes in man-made settings such as bird houses, drain pipes and holes in fences. Both sexes build the nest, made of grass and other vegetation, pieces of bark, feathers and other debris.

A mating pair will have one brood a year, the female laying a clutch of four or five eggs. She does the sitting, which takes about two weeks before the eggs hatch. Both parents do food duty. The hatchlings need two or three weeks before they're ready to fledge.

They are migratory birds in the extreme north and south limits of their range but year-round residents in some areas.

Brown-crested flycatchers are members of Tyrannidae, the flycatcher family.



by David Sedore

Links for Brown-crested Flycatcher Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology National Audubon Society National Geographic Society
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