1. English and Scientific names: Brown-crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus tyrannulus)

2. Number of individuals, sexes, ages, general plumage (e.g., 2 in alternate plumage):


3. Locality: Parish:  Plaquemines

   Specific Locality:  Port Sulphur: in a woodlot just southeast of the Dollar General along LA-23

4. Date(s) when observed: 29 – 30 March 2014

5. Time(s) of day when observed: 12:30 – 1:10 PM (29 March) and 9:10 – 10:50 AM (30 March)

6. Reporting observer and address: Cameron Rutt, 249 Richland Avenue, Baton Rouge, LA 70806

7. Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s): None

8. Other observers who independently identified the bird(s): None

9. Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light): Between the two days, I saw and photographed the bird in conditions ranging from overcast to back-lit, as well as with the sun to my back. Due to the relatively dense vegetation, whenever I did obtain looks at the bird, I was necessarily close.

10. Optical equipment (type, power, condition): Swarovski EL 8.5x42 binoculars and a Canon 60D with a 400mm f/5.6L

11. Distance to bird(s): As close as approximately 50 – 60 ft on multiple occasions

12. Duration of observation: I intermittently heard and observed the bird over the course of 2-3 hours, although actual observation time was much less (perhaps 10 – 15 min of actively following the bird aurally or visually).

13. Habitat: I witnessed the bird in a small flooded forest at the border between a grove of mature live oaks (with sparse undergrowth) and adjacent dense early successional growth. On 30 March, the bird appeared to prefer the canopy of these oaks, particularly when responding to playback, and was eventually reluctant to leave this cover.

14. Behavior of bird / circumstances of observation (flying, feeding, resting; include and stress habits used in identification; relate events surrounding observation):


Aside from short flights and occasional sallies (including one where I witnessed it plucking a nearby fruit), I didn’t see much behaviorally. The limited views I obtained were of a bird, sitting rather still, before making short flights to another perch. This sit-and-wait behavior made the bird difficult to find when I couldn’t see precisely where it landed, which was especially true in the oak canopies.

15. Description (include only what was actually seen, not what "should" have been seen; include if possible: total length/relative size compared to other familiar species, body bulk, shape, proportions, bill, eye, leg, and plumage characteristics. Stress features that separate it from similar species):


A large Myiarchus flycatcher, somewhere in the size continuum from Ash-throated to Brown-crested Flycatcher. This much was quickly apparent by a rather large mockingbird-sized bird that responded to “pishing.” Its bushy crest, gray/white chest and throat, yellow belly, and rusty primaries/rectrices were all characteristic of these upright-perching birds.


Upon seeing the flycatcher, my mistaken first impression was an Ash-throated Flycatcher due to the overall pale coloration. The bird showed an all-black bill with its throat verging on whitish, a pale gray breast, a drab yellow belly, dull rufous edging to the primaries, and dull rufous in the tail feathers from below. I could see that the outermost tail feather showed a dark “corner” and my photographs later confirmed that this darkness did not extend across the tip of the tail (as in ATFL with non-juvenal rectrices). The bird also exhibited weak, pale wing-bars and tertials that were mildly contrasting (pale/dark), but not sharply white/black. Importantly, the photos (links below) show the bird's rather long and heavy bill, which is too large and bulbous for ATFL.

16. Voice: On 3/29, the bird vocalized (unprompted), consistently giving what I jotted down in my notes as a "cheery, snappy, and rising 'whip' followed once or twice with a lower, rolling purr: 'whip-purr.' " These calls confirmed that the bird was a Brown-crested Flycatcher. When I returned the following morning (3/31), I succeeded in luring the bird in with BCFL playback, during which it was very vocal, giving a more complete set of vocalizations (including song fragments: disjointed hoarse, rough notes interspersed with rolled phrases).

17. Similar species (include how they were eliminated by your observation):

Separated from Ash-throated Flycatcher by the combination of outer rectrices without a dark tip (i.e., rufous extending to the tip of the feather), a noticeably longer and deeper bill, and, perhaps most importantly, by its distinctive call notes.


The all-black bill, pale gray throat/breast, drabber yellow belly, and dull tertials lacking strong contrast all serve to separate it from Great Crested Flycatcher, as does the vocalizations.

18. Photographs or tape recordings obtained? (by whom? attached?): Yes, mine:



19. Previous experience with this species: Yes, in both Arizona and Texas

20. Identification aids: (list books, illustrations, other birders, etc. used in identification):


a. at time of observation: None

b. after observation: Sibley, Pyle, National Geographic and audio recordings from xeno-canto and Stokes.

21. This description is written from: _____ notes made during the observation (_____notes attached?);__X__notes made *immediately* after the observation (date:__3/29___); _____memory.

22. Are you positive of your identification if not, explain: Yes

23. Date:___4/4/2014___Time:__6:00 PM____