English and Scientific names:

Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher,  Myiodynastes luteiventris


Number of individuals: 

1 individual - Sex unknown.  Appears from referencing Sibley guide to be juvenile bird.

Locality: LOUISIANA: 


Plaquemines Parish

Specific Locality:


Sandbar at the mouth of North Pass, east side of the Mississippi River birdfoot delta, approximate boundary between Pass A L'Outre Wildlife Management Area and Delta National Wildlife Refuge (see attached maps).


Date(s) when observed:

 September 30, 2004

Time(s) of day when observed:  

Approximately 0920

Reporting observer and address:

William G. Vermillion


646 Cajundome Blvd., Ste. 400

Lafayette, LA 70506

Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s):


Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light):

Bird relatively well-lit; morning sun was behind observer. Perched on Phragmites culm on the interface of Phragmites marsh and sandbar.

Optical equipment: 

 Zeiss 10 X 42B binoculars, ~ 9 years old, good condition


Distance to bird(s): 

Approximately 40 feet

Duration of observation:

Approximately 15 minutes


Edge of Phragmites marsh; adjacent to overwash sandbar to the south; Gulf of Mexico east and north (see maps). 

Behavior of bird: 

I was involved in an oil spill response from 9/27 to 9/39, 2004.  My duty was to haze gulls, pelicans, terns, and shorebirds off a loafing area, an overwash sandbar at the mouth of North Pass.  The north end of the bar was attached to Phragmites marsh.  I approached the edge of the Phragmites marsh, basically the interface between the marsh, the sandbar, and the open gulf, and noticed a catbird-sized bird flush up from about 2 - 3 feet off the ground and about 10 feet from me to about 6 feet off the ground and perhaps 30 feet from me.  Bird flew from left to right, away from me and towards the Gulf.  Was struck by the solid rufous tail.  Thought briefly catbird? Inca dove? but the rufous was on the dorsal surface of the tail, and the bird was too large and bulky for an Inca dove, plus no discernible wing noise as you often have with Inca doves.  Had not yet made an attempt to glass the bird with binoculars.  Was distracted by a couple of small passerines,!

 yellow warblers, then searched with binoculars unsuccessfully for the larger bird before walking slowly towards the area that I thought it had landed.  As I approached that area, the bird flushed when I was about 20 feet away and flew west, landing on a Phragmites culm about 40 feet away on the edge of a section of hurricane-flattened Phragmites.  That flattened section was between me and the bird, so I was able to see it well.  Observed the bird for about 15 minutes.  Most of that time it was perched so that I was looking at the right side of the face and body.  Shifted body position slightly but mostly remained still Eventually I walked up about 10 feet and got a brief look from that distance, then the bird flushed about 20 feet south to another Phragmites culm.  I then left the area to resume hazing other birds.  I returned in about 45 minutes but did not relocate the bird, but I did not exhaustively search the marsh (see attached field notes).


Slightly smaller than a catbird; slightly larger and bulkier than a kingbird.  Relatively large-headed. Tail fairly bright rufous above and below.  Chest, belly, flanks heavily streaked with black.  Belly and center of chest pale yellow, upper portion of flanks whitish.  Streaking appeared heavier on the sides versus the center of the chest.  Bill stout, dark, medium length, conical but not grosbeak-shaped.  Black stripe through the eye, widening behind the eye and extending down the neck, black malar stripe, eye appeared dark, crown streaked with blackish/dark greenish?.  Wings appeared rather mottled black-and-white.  Noted a blackish blob, like an amalgamation of streaking on the bird's right flank adjacent to the wing.  Back/nape/ streaked with black/dark green.  Leading edge primaries darkest.  Some white visible in wing feathers in the central part of the wing (see attached field notes).  Leg color not noted.


Did not call.

Similar species:

Amount of rufous eliminated catbird after initial sighting.  Streaking, bill shape, head pattern, size, body shape, large head eliminated Inca/ground dove.  Bill shape, major amounts of streaking, belly color elimintated black-headed/rose-breasted grosbeak.  Streaking and duller yellow belly color eliminated Kiskadee.

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?


Previous experience with this species: 

None, only familiar from reviewing field guides.

Identification aids:

At time of observation: none


After observation:  Sibley's Guide to North American Birds, Peterson's Field Guide to the Birds of Texas

This description is written from: 

Notes taken at time of observation (attached) and memory.

Are you positive of your identification? If not, explain: 




William G. (Bill) Vermillion

Date and time: 

October 13, 2004, 1433