• Skip to Content
  • Skip to Main Navigation
  • Skip to Local Navigation
  • Skip to Search
  • Skip to Sitemap
  • Skip to Footer

Vermilion Flycatcher


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.

At a GlanceHelp

Both Sexes
5.1–5.5 in
13–14 cm
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.
  • The oldest recorded Vermillion Flycatcher was a male, and at least 4 years, 6 months old when he was shot in Mexico in 1972, the same country where he had been banded.


Open Woodland

Scrub, desert, cultivated lands, and riparian woodlands.



Insects and other arthropods.


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




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).


status via IUCN

Least Concern

Vermillion Flycatcher is common in most of its range, and overall populations were stable between 1966 and 2014, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 20 million birds, with 10% spending some part of the year in the U.S., and 22% in Mexico. The species rates a 5 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Vermillion Flycatcher is not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List. 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.


Range Map Help

Vermilion Flycatcher Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings


Or Browse Bird Guide by Family, Name or Shape
bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

The Cornell Lab will send you updates about birds, birding, and opportunities to help bird conservation. You can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell or give your email address to others.