Which Myiarchus is this?

Myiarchus sits quietly

It was a hectic morning at cerca viva today.  No time for breakfast, since so many birds fell into the nets.  Today’s highlight was a Myiarchus flycatcher, but we also had a pretty Barn swallow  (Hirundo rustica), netted here only very infrequently.  Another Common pauraque (Nyctidromus albicollis), this time a female, was possibly the mate of the unfortunate male who was the star of an earlier post.

Myiarchus gets annoyed

We put the flycatcher down as Brown-crested (Wied’s) flycatcher (Myiarchus tyrannulus), but several field marks seem to indicate Great crested flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus).  Unfortunately, we didn’t have Sibley’s guide with us to help at the time.  Happily, several of the photos show some good detail.  Many North American birders are very familiar with these two species, and I’m hoping that someone will drop me a line with a definite identification.

The field marks that point to a Great crested (Myiarchus crinitus) are the pale base of the bill, the yellow reaching up fairly high on the breast, the extensive rufous in the tail, the olive back, and the orange mouth lining.  Garrigues‘ maps indicate a preference for the Great crested in our area, both as a winter resident and as a passage migrant.  The open habitat of the cerca viva seems more suited to the Brown-crested, however.  Stiles & Skutch also consider the Great crested more likely in the Turrialba area.

Myiarchus shows mouth lining

The Barn swallow gave no identification problem, of course, and posed very nicely after a brief squawking session.

An uncommon visitor to the mist nets

It was interesting to see the female Common pauraque and note the differences between the sexes in this species.  After banding, she flew off safely, unlike her unlucky mate last week.

Here’s the day’s list of banded birds:

1. Ruddy ground-dove (Columbina talpocoti)

2. White-tipped dove (Leptotila verreauxi)

3. Common pauraque (Nyctidromus albicollis)

4. Rufous-tailed hummingbird (Amazilia tzacatl)

5. Slaty spinetail (Synallaxis brachyura)

6. Barred antshrike (Thamnophilus doliatus)

7. Yellow-bellied elaenia (Elaenia flavogaster)

8. White-throated flycatcher (Empidonax albigularis)

9. Great crested/Brown-crested flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus/tyrannulus)

10. Barn swallow (Hirundo rustica)

11. Long-billed gnatwren (Ramphocaenus melanurus)

12. Plain wren (Thryothurus modestus)

13. Variable seedeater (Sporophila aurita)

14. Black-striped sparrow (Arremonops conirostris)

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