The Sulphur-bellied flycatcher (Myiodynastes luteiventris) looks like a bigger version of the Piratic flycatcher (Legatus leucophaius) that I have now come to be familiar with in the garden. It is a good deal bigger, however, and the rufous tail distinguishes it immediately from the more modestly coloured Piratic flycatcher. The real difficulty for identification is because of its similarity to the Streaked flycatcher (Myiodynastes maculatus), which, luckily for me, is not usually found on the Caribbean side. I have seen the Sulphur-bellied locally from time to time but mid-July brought a noisy pair to my eucalyptus.
The Garrigues bird guide is very helpful here because from the dates given for sightings it is clear that my pair were probably not transients but breeding residents. Richard has also recently made available an excellent list of photos that includes the aforementioned three species and helps greatly with identification. With my best thanks to him, here then are beautiful shots of our subjects, clearly showing the distinguishing features.
The Piratic pesters other, often bigger species and moves into their nest. I have had a pair nesting somewhere in the garden for each of the last two years. It’s a southern migrant and I have seen it here from February to August.
Now I can add the Sulphur-bellied to my garden list. The rufous tail and streaked breast distinguish it clearly from everything except the next species.
The Sulphur-bellied is found throughout the country and so can easily be confused with Streaked if you’re on the Pacific side. On the Streaked look for the pale lower mandible and the almost missing malar stripe.