Readers’ wildlife photos

January 9, 2022 • 8:15 am

It’s Sunday, which means a themed batch of bird photos by John Avise. John’s intro and captions are indented, and you can enlarge his photos by clicking on them:

More Drab Flycatchers, and Then a Surprise

Last week, Jerry posted my photos of several sibling species in the genus Empidonax, drab little flycatchers commonly known as “empids” (see here).  Many other flycatchers (family Tyrannidae) likewise are dressed in conservative grays and browns (and are not sexually dimorphic).  A few of these non-empid flycatchers are the subject of this week’s post, but there is one North American flycatcher that blatantly contradicts the dull flycatcher motif.  The male Vermilion Flycatcher has a brilliant red-and-black plumage that makes this species unmistakable.  Why does this sole species depart so spectacularly from the flycatcher norm?

It’s a total mystery to me, so the question is on my bucket list of avian queries I’d love to have answered.

Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) (Michigan):

 Another Eastern Phoebe (Florida):

Brown-crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus tyrannulus) (California):

Eastern Wood-Pewee (Contopus virens) (Michigan):

Northern Beardless Tyrannulet (Camptostoma imberbe) (Texas):

Olive-sided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi) (California):

Say’s Phoebe (Sayornis saya) (California):

Western Wood-Pewee (Contopus sordidulus) (California):

Vermilion Flycatcher male (Pyrocephalus rubinus) (California):

Vermilion Flycatcher female:

Another Vermilion Flycatcher male:

Yet another Vermilion Flycatcher male:

6 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. I would be happy for some Vermillion Flycatchers out here in the Pittsburgh area. I’m sure they’d find enough flies to be satisfied, too.

  2. Conservative grays and browns have their own appeal. In fashion, stick with the classics. He may be colorful, but the vermilion looks like a 1973 leisure suit. Beautiful photos.

  3. Vermillion Flycatchers are extremely successful. The four nearly-identical currently-recognized species of this group breed from the southern US to Bolivia and Brazil. Whatever tthey are doing with those bright colors, it works well!

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