Vol. 2, # 5 – The Vermilion Fly-Catcher


The Vermilion Fly-catcher

From col. George F. Breninger. Copyrighted by
Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.



HICKETS along water courses are favorite resorts of this beautiful Fly-catcher, which may be seen only on the southern border of the United States, south through Mexico to Guatemala, where it is a common species. Mr. W. E. D. Scott notes it as a common species about Riverside, Tucson, and Florence, Arizona. Its habits are quite similar to those of other Fly-catchers, though it has not been so carefully observed as its many cousins in other parts of the country. During the nesting season, the male frequently utters a twittering song while poised in the air, in the manner of the Sparrow Hawk, and during the song it snaps its bill as if catching insects.

The Vermilion’s nest is usually placed in horizontal forks of ratana trees, and often in mesquites, not more than six feet from the ground; they are composed of small twigs and soft materials felted together, with the rims covered with lichens, and the shallow cavity lined with a few horse or cow hairs. Dr. Merrill states that they bear considerable resemblance to nests of the Wood Pewee in appearance and the manner in which they are saddled to the limb. Nests have been found, however, which lacked the exterior coating of lichens.

Three eggs are laid of a rich creamy-white with a ring of large brown and lilac blotches at the larger end.


Pallid, wan-faced clouds
Press close to the frozen pines,
And follow the jagged lines
Of fence, that the sleet enshrouds.

Sharp in the face of the sky,
Gaunt, thin-ribbed leaves are blown;
They rise with a shuddering moan,
Then sink in the snow and die.

At the edge of the wood a vine
Still clings to the sleeping beech,
While its stiffened tendrils reach
A nest, and around it twine.

A little gray nest all alone,
With its feathery lining of snow,
Where bleak winds, piping low,
Croon a sweet minor tone.
—Nora A. Piper.



VERMILION FLY-CATCHER.Pyocephalus rubineus mexicanus.

Range—Southern Border of the United States south through Mexico and Guatemala.

Nest—In forks of ratana trees, not more than six feet up, of small twigs and soft materials felted together, the rims covered with lichens; the cavity is shallow.

Eggs—Usually three, the ground color a rich creamy-white, with a ring of large brown and lilac blotches at the larger end.

Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) by Margaret Sloan

Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) by Margaret Sloan

Lee’s Addition:

“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18 NKJV)

The Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) is a small passerine bird in the Tyrannidae, or tyrant flycatcher family. Most flycatchers are rather drab, but the Vermilion Flycatcher is a striking exception. It is a favourite with birders, but is not generally kept in aviculture, as the males tend to lose their vermilion colouration when in captivity.

Vermilion Flycatchers generally prefer somewhat open areas, and are found in trees or shrubs in savannah, scrub, agricultural areas, riparian woodlands, and desert as well, but usually near water. Their range includes almost all of Mexico; it extends north into the southwestern United States, and south to scattered portions of Central America, parts of northwestern and central South America, and on southwards to central Argentina. They are also found in the Galapagos Islands.

The species grows to about seven inches in length, and is strongly dimorphic; males are bright red, with dark brown plumage. Females have a peach-coloured belly with a dark grey upperside, and are similar to Say’s Phoebe.

The flycatchers feed mostly on insects such as flies, grasshoppers and beetles. These are usually taken in mid-air, after a short sally flight from a perch.

They lay 2-3 whitish eggs in a nest made of twigs, stems and roots, and lined with hair. The eggs are incubated for around two weeks by the female and the young are ready to leave the nest 15 days after hatching.

Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) Female on nest ©WikiC

Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) Female on nest ©WikiC


Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for October 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited


(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)

Next Article – The Lazuli Bunting

The Previous Article – The European Kingfisher

Sharing The Gospel



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