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Vermilion Flycatcher

Pyrocephalus rubinus ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: TYRANNIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A spectacular and distinctive flycatcher, the bright red Vermilion Flycatcher inhabits riparian areas and scrub in the southwestern United States and southward. It perches conspicuously, making periodic flights to nab insect prey.

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At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
5.1–5.5 in
13–14 cm
Weight
0.4–0.5 oz
11–14 g
Other Names
  • Moucherolle vermillon (French)
  • Mosquero cardenal (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The breeding male Vermilion Flycatcher spends about 90 percent of the day perched.
  • Twelve subspecies of Vermilion Flycatcher are recognized, including a race with a dark morph that ranges from western Peru to northern Chile. Both male and female of this morph are dark all over, with some males having a few red feathers on the head, and some females having a pinkish wash under the tail. About half of the Vermilion Flycatchers in Lima, Peru are the dark morph, but the proportion decreases as one goes further southward.
  • The male Vermilion Flycatcher often seeks to initiate copulation by delivering a butterfly or other showy insect to the female.

Habitat


Open Woodland

Scrub, desert, cultivated lands, and riparian woodlands.

Food


Insects

Insects and other arthropods.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
2–4 eggs
Egg Description
White or creamy, with bold dark blotches and small lighter spots.
Condition at Hatching
Helpless with sparse whitish down, back skin blackish.
Nest Description

A loose cup of twigs, grasses, and fibers, lined with down, feathers, and hair. Usually placed in a fork in a horizontal tree branch, about 2.5 to 6 meters (8-20 ft) off the ground.

Nest Placement

Tree

Behavior


Flycatching

The male Vermilion Flycatcher often seeks to initiate copulation by delivering a butterfly or other showy insect to the female. During breeding season, the male Vermilion Flycatcher performs a spectacular display, fluttering 10 to 30 meters (11-33 ft) above the canopy, singing. Sits and waits on an open perch, locates prey, and pursues it. Often takes prey on the wing, from ground level to a height of about 10 meters (33 ft).

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Common in most of range. Human water use and land development have caused drastic declines in Vermilion Flycatcher populations in the lower Colorado River Valley. Habitat destruction poses threats to the species in various parts of its range.

Credits

  • Wolf. B. O., and S. L. Jones. 2000. Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus). In The Birds of North America, No. 484 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.

Range Map Help

Vermilion Flycatcher Range Map
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