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The great crested flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus) is a species of bird within the tyrant flycatcher family, Tyrannidae. It is widely distributed throughout much of North and Central America, as well as parts of South America. This medium-sized passerine has distinctive features that make it easily identifiable by experienced birders or ornithologists.

This article will provide an overview of the great crested flycatcher’s distribution, physical characteristics and behavior, as well as discuss its conservation status. Furthermore, the article will highlight key research studies related to this species which are relevant in aiding our understanding of their ecology and biology.

The great crested flycatchers have proven to be ecologically important due to their role in regulating insect populations; however, they can also cause damage to fruit crops when overabundant in certain areas. Thus, there is a need for more comprehensive research on this species so that effective management strategies can be implemented where needed.

Great crested flycatcher


The great crested flycatcher is a mid-sized songbird, with males measuring up to 7.5 inches (19 cm) and females slightly smaller at 6 inches (15 cm). This species has a distinctive crest of feathers on its head which helps in identification. Its back and wings are typically colored greyish olive green, while its underside is usually yellow or pale orange.

The tail of the great crested flycatcher is long and broad, as typical for this family of birds. It also has a black beak that curves downward slightly near the tip, while its wings have pointed tips that help it soar gracefully through the air.

When examining the coloration pattern of this bird more closely, we can see that its crown feathers are grayish blue in adults, while juveniles tend to have an overall browner hue to their plumage. On both adult and juvenile birds, there tends to be white spots along their wingtips and outer tail feathers.

Overall, these features make the great crested flycatcher easily distinguishable from other similar species found in North America. As with many passerines, this species uses vocalizations extensively during courtship displays as well as territorial disputes with potential predators or competitors. Such behaviors further emphasize how distinct they are among bird families in terms of physical appearance and behavior patterns observed in nature

Habitat And Distribution

The great crested flycatcher is widely distributed across North America, ranging from Canada in the north to Central America in the south. Its habitat range extends through much of the eastern United States and parts of Mexico, with an occasional sighting reported as far west as California and Texas. The primary distribution area for this species covers most of the mid-western states and eastward into the Atlantic coast.

The preferred habitat of the great crested flycatcher consists mainly of deciduous woodlands that contain a healthy mix of mature trees, shrubs, vines and other vegetation. They are also known to inhabit suburban areas where there are large stands of big trees in yards or parks.

This species is often seen perched on dead limbs near open fields to hunt insects, but it will also return to tree tops for resting during midday hours. Great crested flycatchers favor nesting sites located high up in large trees such as oaks, maples and hickories where they build cup nests made from twigs lined with softer materials like mud or grasses.

Diet And Feeding Habits

The great crested flycatcher is a species of passerine bird known for its insectivorous diet. The species mainly feeds on insects, such as beetles, ants, moths and flies. However, they will occasionally feed on fruits or berries when available.

Great crested flycatchers typically hunt in open woodlands while perching near the top of trees and shrubs; their quick movements between branches allow them to detect prey more easily. During nesting season, parents bring food back to the nestlings, who are fed an entirely insect-based diet until fledging.

In addition to searching for food sources in open woodlands, these birds have been observed engaging in hawking behavior – a type of aerial hunting where predators actively chase after flying prey midair. This feeding strategy has allowed great crested flycatchers to find a variety of food sources from long distances away from their nests. By using visual cues, it can spot prey up to 60 feet away in sunny conditions or up to 40 feet away during cloudy days.

Overall, great crested flycatchers predominantly consume an insect-based diet supplemented with occasional fruits or berries when available. They tend to locate food by observing potential prey items from treetops and through active hawking strategies that involve chasing down flying prey midair. Nestlings rely solely upon this insect-based fare until they reach fledging age at around two weeks old.

Breeding And Nesting

The great crested flycatcher is an active, solitary bird during its breeding season. It typically builds a nest in the crook of a tree or near the trunk of an old tree that may have cavities for nesting. Preferred nesting sites are often located near water and include open woodlands and deciduous forests.

This species generally breeds between late May until early August, with clutch sizes ranging from two to five eggs per nest. The female will incubate the eggs while the male defends the territory surrounding their nest. After hatching, both parents help feed and care for the young birds until they fledge around 18 days after hatching.

Notable characteristics of this species’ breeding habits include:

  • Nesting in deciduous woodlands and near bodies of water
  • Clutch size ranges from 2-5 eggs
  • Incubation period lasts about 12-14 days
  • Both parents feed and care for juveniles post-hatch
  • Breeding occurs mostly between May – August

Migration Patterns

The great crested flycatcher is a migratory bird species that exhibits long distance seasonal movements. Migration patterns of the great crested flycatcher have been extensively studied and it has been discovered that these birds migrate from northern parts of their range to southern wintering grounds.

These southward migrations take place in late summer or early fall with some individuals making two-month trips covering thousands of miles before reaching their destination. The most common route taken by this species is along the Mississippi River Valley and then down into Mexico.

In addition to its long distance migration, the great crested flycatcher also engages in shorter local dispersal flights during both spring and autumn season. During this time they can be seen flying over larger bodies of water such as rivers or lakes while searching for suitable habitats to use during these seasons.

Furthermore, studies suggest that males tend to travel farther than females during their migrations which could explain why there are often more males present on breeding grounds than females at this time of year.

Understanding more about flycatcher migration helps us gain insights into how climate change may affect them in the future and allows us to better conserve areas important to their survival. It also provides opportunities for wildlife managers to understand where we should focus our efforts when trying to protect critical stopover sites used by migrating populations so we can ensure the continued success of this species for generations to come.

Conservation Status

The great crested flycatcher is currently listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as Least Concern. Despite this, its population has been steadily declining due to habitat destruction and fragmentation caused by human activity.

As a result, conservation efforts have been put into place in order to preserve existing populations of the species. These initiatives include implementing protective regulations on land development activities that may impact the bird’s natural habitats and creating new protected areas throughout their range. Additionally, research projects are being conducted to better understand the ecology of the species and inform potential management strategies.

In addition to protecting wild spaces, reintroduction programs have also been developed for those locations where suitable habitat exists but there are no established populations present.

This involves translocating birds from other regions or captive-breeding them before releasing them back into the environment with an aim towards restoring historical numbers of great crested flycatchers in these areas. Furthermore, educational campaigns have been launched in order to raise awareness about issues related to habitat protection and sustainable use of resources in certain areas of greater risk for this species.

It is clear that proactive measures are necessary if we want to ensure a positive future outlook for great crested flycatchers across their range. With continued monitoring and conservation efforts, it is possible to prevent further declines in population numbers and reduce threats posed by human activities on their habitats.

Great crested flycatcher

Interesting Facts

The Great Crested Flycatcher is a songbird belonging to the family Muscicapidae. This species of flycatcher has an impressive array of vocalizations, including mimicry calls that are often used in aggressive communication with other birds.

In terms of physical characteristics, this bird is characterised by its bright yellow belly and greyish-olive back plumage. Additionally, it boasts a unique crest on top of its head which can be raised or lowered depending upon the bird’s mood.

When nesting, Great Crested Flycatchers usually select cavities within trees as their breeding sites. The female will generally lay between four and five eggs per clutch and tends to be very protective over her brood for the first few weeks after hatching. During this period she will continue to provide food, even when the chicks no longer require incubation from her body heat.

Moving forward into adulthood, the distinctive colours of these birds make them highly visible during flight; however they also help camouflage them when perched amongst foliage. Furthermore, due to their regular diet consisting mainly of insects such as beetles and caterpillars, these birds play an important role in natural pest control throughout many habitats across North America.

As such they offer great ecological benefits both directly through their activities but also indirectly through pollination services provided while searching for nectar rich sources of food.


The great crested flycatcher is an intriguing avian species. With its bold crest, distinctive markings and broad range of habitats, it is one of the most recognizable birds in North America. Its diet consists mainly of insects and other small invertebrates which it captures by aerial sallying from a perch or hovering over open areas such as fields, yards and woodland edges.

During breeding season they are monogamous but may form mixed flocks with other songbirds while migrating south. Populations have been stable in recent years due to conservation efforts such as habitat protection within their summer range. As a result, this species can be found widely distributed throughout much of eastern North America during spring and summer months.

Interesting facts about the great crested flycatcher include that they often store food items inside tree cavities for later use; they also produce loud rattling sounds when disturbed near their nest sites. They will attempt to deter predators using distraction displays involving fake injuries like dragging wings or exaggerating limps. Additionally, males often sing duets with themselves to attract mates during courtship rituals.

In conclusion, the great crested flycatcher is a fascinating bird that has adapted well to human presence in many parts of its range. It plays an important role in natural ecosystems where it helps control insect populations and provides aesthetic value through its eye-catching plumage and vocalizations. This species continues to thrive thanks to successful conservation initiatives aimed at preserving suitable nesting sites across their range.