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Vermilion Flycatcher

November 06, 2023

I visited Chebogue Point to view and photograph the Vermilion Flycatcher. The Chebogue Point dairy farm is a rich bird area probably due to the rich variety of edible insects that inhabit the place primarily Stable Flies and Stable Fly maggots. The thousands of Stable Fly larvae may sustain a mix of birds this winter and the warmth created by hundreds of dairy cattle in their heated enclosures should provide ample if not luxurious accommodation for several overwintering birds. Predation by several resident barn cats and the ever present Merlins that also overwinter in this situation thanks primarily due to the hundreds if not thousands of local starlings, a reslilent and intelligent bird species. Also present were Palm Warblers, Song Sparrows and Ruby-crowned Kinglets.

Photographing the Vermilion Flycatcher was challenging thanks to my camera's inability to focus the bird which was usually present behind branches and also its active nature. I trashed dozens of out of focus photographs and images of branches absent of birds. Nevertheless out of this melee I obtained one decent photo of the Vermilion Flycatcher. Two images shown below are crops of the wider field photograph.

This visitation of the Vermilion Flycatcher would be the fourth confirmed record according to Dr. Ian Mclarens , "All the Birds of Nova Scotia".  It has been reported before in the last decade but without photographs it is difficult to confirm the record.

Vermilion Flycatcher

If your interested in more details of this rare bird here it is:

Courtesy of Wikipedia
Vermilion flycatcher
Temporal range: 1.15–0 Ma (present)
Red bird in a tree
Duration: 40 seconds.
Call of vermilion flycatcher
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Tyrannidae
Genus: Pyrocephalus
P. obscurus
Binomial name
Pyrocephalus obscurus
Gould, 1839

See text

Range map[2]

The vermilion flycatcher (Pyrocephalus obscurus) is a small passerine bird in the tyrant flycatcher family found throughout South America and southern North America. It is a striking exception among the generally drab Tyrannidae due to its vermilion-red coloration. The males have bright red crowns, chests, and underparts, with brownish wings and tails. Females lack the vivid red coloration and can be hard to identify—they may be confused for the Say's phoebe. The vermilion flycatcher's song is a pit pit pit pidddrrrreeedrr, which is variable and important in establishing a territory. Riparian habitats and semi-open environments are preferred. As aerial insectivores, they catch their prey while flying. Their several months-long molt begins in summer.

Despite being socially monogamous, vermilion flycatchers will engage in extra-pair copulation. They also practice within-species brood parasitism, whereby females lay their eggs in the nest of another individual. Females build shallow open cup nests and incubate the brown-speckled whitish eggs. The male feeds the female during incubation. Two broods of two or three eggs are laid in a season lasting from March through June. Once hatched, both males and females feed the chicks, which are ready to fledge after 15 days.

The species was first described in the late 1830s as a result of the voyages of Charles Darwin. The taxonomy of the genus Pyrocephalus was revised in 2016, which led to the identification of several new species from the vermilion flycatcher's subspecies, including the now-extinct San Cristóbal flycatcher. Populations have declined because of habitat loss, though the species remains abundant. The overall population numbers are in the millions, thus the International Union for Conservation of Nature considers it a species of least concern.