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

British-born scientist specializing in reproduction & embryology. Career as professor & research director spanned from Cambridge to Cornell's Weill Medical College in NYC. Married to Lucinda Veeck Gosden, embryologist for the first successful IVF team in America. Retired early to Williamsburg, Virginia, to write and recover from 'nature deficit disorder'. Currently a visiting scholar at 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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