Brown-crested FlycatcherMyiarchus tyrannulus

Rick and Nora Bowers/VIREO
Greg Lasley/VIREO
Rick and Nora Bowers/VIREO
Brown-crested Flycatcher
Brown-crested Flycatcher


9 1/2" (24 cm). A large flycatcher, olive above and yellow below, with cinnamon in wings and tail. Larger size, black bill, and brighter sulphur-yellow belly distinguish it from Ash-throated Flycatcher. Great Crested Flycatcher has brighter underparts and brown, not blackish, lower mandible; best distinguished by voice.


A burry purreeeer, a sharp wit! or way-burg.


whip calls
excited calls
various calls
dawn song


Arid lands in areas with cacti or large trees.


Breeds from southern California, southern Nevada, central Arizona, and southern Texas southward. Winters mainly south of U.S.-Mexico border, but a few winter in southern Florida.


This bird's former name, "Wied's Crested Flycatcher," was in honor of Prince Maximilian of Wied, a German naturalist and traveler in early-19th-century America. Biologists have found that when closely related sister species, like the Brown-crested, Ash-throated, and Dusky-capped flycatchers, occur together, ecological specializations such as differences in size, feeding habits, and vocalizations allow the species to coexist without competing.


3-5 brown-spotted, creamy-white eggs in a nest lined with feathers, fibers, and hairs, placed in a tree cavity, in cacti, or on fence posts.

Similar Species


Greater Pewee

7-7 3/4" (18-20 cm). Large-headed flycatcher with slight crest. Olive-brown above, slightly lighter below. Small light gray throat patch, yellow lower mandible, and indistinct wing bars.


Ash-throated Flycatcher

8" (20 cm). Dull olive above, yellowish below.


Great Crested Flycatcher

9" (23 cm). Slightly crested. Brown above, with gray throat, yellow belly, rufous wings and tail, and pale brown at base of lower mandible.


Dusky-capped Flycatcher

6 1/2 -7" (17-18 cm). A small Myiarchus flycatcher, with much brown, but no rufous on tail. Pale olive-brown above, grayish throat and breast, pale yellow belly.


Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher

7 1/2 -8 1/2" (19-22 cm). A large, heavily streaked flycatcher. Upperparts buff-brown with brown streaks; underparts yellow with blackish streaks.


Couch's Kingbird

8 1/2" (22 cm). Bright yellow underparts, olive back, and dark patch through eye. Slightly forked brown tail without white.


Tropical Kingbird

8-9 1/2" (20-24 cm). Resembles Western Kingbird. Gray head, olive back, and brown notched tail with no white. White throat and bright yellow upper breast, belly, and undertail coverts.


Cassin's Kingbird

8-9" (20-23 cm). Similar to Western Kingbird but darker, back more olive-gray, black tail lightly white-tipped but lacking white margins.


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