Ochre-bellied Flycatcher

Ochre-bellied Flycatcher (Mionectes oleagineus): Mosquerito aceitunado; Pipromorphe roussâtre; Ockerbauch-Pipratyrann

This small flycatcher is a forest bird that feeds mostly on berries, as do some other flycatchers here, notably elaenia species and Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher (Ptiliogonys caudatus). The Ochre-bellied Flycatcher sometimes wanders into nearby semi-cleared areas, including gardens, even my own, though only very occasionally. It ranges from southern Mexico to South America, where it is found in forest environments mostly east of the Andes as far as south-eastern Brazil. I have found it only twice at my house (1300 m) and at no higher elevation than that on the slope of the Turrialba Volcano. John found the Ochre-bellied Flycatcher again this month in his garden in Santa Rosa de Turrialba and so I now take the opportunity to present the following fine photos:

Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, displays the belly for which it is named: September 2020, Santa Rosa; photo by John Beer

You may expect to see it in shady forest understory at many local lower elevations, but it is small and inconspicuous, lacking any very obvious field marks. It is generally olive in colour, changing to a kind of dull yellow that extends over all the underparts. I have noted in an earlier post that confusion with the female White-winged Becard (Pachyramphus polychopterus) is likely, but only with the female becard, which lacks any white at all, either in the wings or elsewhere.

The Ochre-bellied Flycatcher is a uniformly dull-plumaged bird, lacking any white on head, wings or belly. This detail helps to distinguish it from other flycatchers that occupy similar habitats, such as the Slaty-capped Flycatcher (Leptopogon superciliaris), among others. The next photo, from the back, illustrates just how difficult identification can be at times, even when the bird is clearly seen:

Ochre-bellied Flycatcher; a rear view is rather unhelpful with identification; photo by John Beer

Seen from the rear the Ochre-bellied might be confused with several other small flycatchers. Both photos above are from earlier this month but this file photo, which shows a front view with excellent detail, was taken in January 2018, also in John’s garden.

Ochre-bellied Flycatcher; photo by John Beer

When I return to my own long undisturbed garden I hope the Ochre-bellied Flycatcher will pay me another visit.

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