Vermilion Flycatcher

juvenile bird, photo by Phil Swanson

Pyrocephalus rubinus
L 6″ (15 cm).

Song or calls:
Listen (NGPC audio)

Courting male gives a stuttered “pit-pit-pit-pitty-zeee!” while in flight.

Description: Male has bright red head and underparts; dark brown narrow eye mask, back, wings, and tail. Female is lighter brown above; shows light streaking on a white breast; and has a pink wash on belly and undertail coverts. Immatures are similar to females, but have a yellowish-tan wash on belly and undertail coverts.

Habitat: Usually found in trees or shrubs along roadsides, or in open riverbottom forests.

Where in Nebraska: Accidental. Sight record for Douglas County, and a specimen from Lincoln County in 1954. Most recent sighting from Lincoln County in 1976.

Field Notes: Despite the male’s bright red coloring, this bird is often hard to see because it forages in the highest canopy and often remains well concealed.

Fun Facts: Unlike other flycatchers that are drab in color, the Vermilion is brilliant red. It’s Mexcan name is brasita de fuego, meaning “little coal of fire”.

Adult Vermillion Flycatcher - photo by Phil Swanson female Vermillion Flycatcher - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)