Monday, May 25, 2015

Tyrant Flycatchers at Mission Trails Park

Tyrant Flycatchers are the largest family of birds in the world with over 400 species in 97 genera. A New World family, most are found in the tropics of the Americas. Less than 50 species are found north of Mexico, and about half of those are rare visitors to the southern states bordering Mexico, and also Florida.

I photographed locally common representatives of 3 different genera of Tyrant Flycatchers recently.

Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Pacific-slope Flycatcher. Mission Trails Regional Park, San Diego, California. May 10, 2015. Greg Gillson.
There are 15 species of Empidonax Flycatchers in the World, 11 are found north of Mexico. They are small and greenish with eye rings and wingbars. They are notoriously difficult to tell apart but the songs of males on the breeding territories are diagnostic, once learned.

Black Phoebe
Black Phoebe
There are only three flycatchers named Phoebe. All occur in North America.

Ash-throated Flycatcher
Ash-throated Flycatcher
Myiarchus Flycatchers are grayish-brown with rusty wing and tail edgings. There are 22 species in the world and 6 occur north of Mexico.