- ORDER: Passeriformes
- FAMILY: Tyrannidae
A feathered ember in a desert landscape, the male Vermilion Flycatcher is exactly what its name says: a brilliant red bird that hawks flying insects from conspicuous perches on shrub tops and fences. Females are delightful in their own way, subtle gray-brown birds with a warm salmon-red blush to the underparts. Though they barely reach the southwestern U.S., this species is common all the way through Central America and much of South America. Watch for the male's high, fluttering flight display and listen for his twittering display song.More ID Info
Find This Bird
Vermilion Flycatchers are small but brightly colored, with a habit of sitting on exposed perches often within about 10 feet of the ground. This makes them fairly easy to spot in their open country habitat. Watch for them especially in insect-rich places such as the edges of wetlands or along stream corridors in otherwise dry country. In the U.S. they are best known and fairly common in the Southwest, but smaller numbers also spend winters along the Gulf Coast.
- Mosquero cardenal (Spanish)
- Moucherolle vermillon (French)
- Cool Facts
- The Vermilion Flycatcher's genus name, Pyrocephalus, literally translates to "fire-headed."
- There are 12 subspecies of Vermilion Flycatcher found from the southwestern U.S. all the way south to northern Chile. Some of the birds in the southernmost part of their range are ashy gray-brown overall, with only a few red feathers on the head.
- When male Vermilion Flycatchers court females, they bring gifts: often a butterfly or other flashy insect.
- Like many members of the Tyrannidae, or "tyrant flycatcher" family, Vermilion Flycatchers are prone to wander. There are records of this species way out of their normal range, as far afield as Minnesota, Maryland, and British Columbia.
- The oldest recorded Vermilion Flycatcher was a male at least 4 years, 6 months old when he was collected in Mexico, the same country where he had been banded.