Vermilion Flycatcher Life History


Habitat GrasslandsScrub, desert, cultivated lands, and riparian woodlands.Back to top


Food InsectsInsects and other arthropods.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Tree

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.

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size:2-4 eggs
Number of Broods:1-2 broods
Egg Length:0.6-0.8 in (1.6-1.9 cm)
Egg Width:0.4-0.6 in (1.1-1.4 cm)
Incubation Period:13-15 days
Nestling Period:14-16 days
Egg Description:White or creamy, with bold dark blotches and small lighter spots.
Condition at Hatching:Helpless with sparse whitish down, back skin blackish.
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Behavior FlycatchingThe 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).Back to top


Conservation Low ConcernVermillion 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. Back to top


Ellison, Kevin, Blair O. Wolf and Stephanie L. Jones. (2009). Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

Lutmerding, J. A. and A. S. Love. Longevity records of North American birds. Version 2015.2. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2015.

North American Bird Conservation Initiative. (2014). The State of the Birds 2014 Report. US Department of Interior, Washington, DC, USA.

Partners in Flight (2017). Avian Conservation Assessment Database. 2017.

Sauer, J. R., J. E. Hines, J. E. Fallon, K. L. Pardieck, Jr. Ziolkowski, D. J. and W. A. Link. The North American Breeding Bird Survey, results and analysis 1966-2013 (Version 1.30.15). USGS Patuxtent Wildlife Research Center (2014b). Available from

Sibley, D. A. (2014). The Sibley Guide to Birds, second edition. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, USA.

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