Arizona Naturalists >>> Sonoran Desert Naturalist >>> Field Guide >>> Riparian and Water Birds >>> Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher

Pyrocephalus rubinus

Illustration by Louis Agassiz Fuertes (artist, 1874-1927)

This image by Louis Agassiz Fuertes is hosted at Wikimedia where there are more great shots of this photogenic bird. The lower bird is the female, above is the male.

This video was taken by Rixandzax in Tucson, Arizona, USA. November 2009.

One of the most striking birds inhabiting riparian zones in the Sonoran Desert is the Vermillion Flycatcher. They perch usually on a branch that is a few meters off the ground that gives a good view of the area. From this vantage point the bird sallies out to capture flying insects on the wing then abruptly returns to the perch.

Being almost exclusively insect eaters, these birds tend to move to lower elevations during the coldest winter months. They also tend to stay pretty close to water, either a riparian stream or a river/pond. Here they find plenty of chironomid midges (non-biting, mosquito-like flies) and ephemeroptera (mayflies) to catch even during chilly weather.

Year-round Resident - Some Elevational Migration

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Sonoran Desert Field Guide
Sonoran Desert Places
Sonoran Desert Naturalist Home Page


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2009