Great-crested Flycatcher

Great-crested flycatcher
Photo: Inge Curtis

Flycatchers are allies of those who loath mosquitoes and blackflies without spraying their yards. This handsome bird is found east of a north-south line splitting the North American continent in half, and projected to lose western territory and perhaps gain some in Canada from climate warming.

Since the related Eastern Phoebe flicks its wings like common flycatchers in Europe I wondered if other tyrant flycatchers, including this Great, behave similarly. Apparently not. I can’t explain the nervous twitching, evidently not strictly linked with flycatcher habitat or habits.

Perhaps, like me, you wonder where the name ‘tyrant’ comes from for American flycatchers. I can’t explain that either, except to say the distinguished Irish naturalist Nicholas Vigors coined the family name Tyrannidae.

By Roger Gosden

A British and American scientist specializing in reproduction & embryology whose career spanned from Cambridge to Cornell's Weill Medical College in NYC. He married Lucinda Veeck, the embryologist for the first successful IVF team in America. They retired to Virginia, where he became a master naturalist and writer affiliated with William & Mary.

1 comment

  1. Beautiful birds. Love them. I raised a few orphaned nestlings and they sung themselves to sleep every night. Very sweet. (Permitted Wildlife Rehabilitator)

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