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Variegated Flycatcher - BirdForum Opus

Nominate subspeces. Sexes are similar
Photo © by Celso Paris
Sorocaba, Sao Paulo, SE Brazil, 2017
Empidonomus varius


Subspecies rufinus
Photo © by rka
Gran Couva, Trinidad, 2 September 2018

18–19 cm (7-7½ in)

  • Dark brown, black scaled upperparts
  • Thick dark brown eye-line
  • Pale face
  • Thin brown moustachial stripe
  • Dark-streaked, pale yellow underparts
  • Dark wing feathers with pale edges
  • Dark tail feathers with thick rufous edges
  • Black upper mandible
  • Lower mandible is dark with yellow base

Sexes are similar

Similar Species

Very similar to the more common Piratic Flycatcher which is smaller and lacks the rufous upper tail. Smaller, and smaller billed than Streaked Flycatcher.


South America: found in Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina.

It is a vagrant to the United States and Canada.



Two subspecies are recognized[1]:

  • E. v. rufinus:
  • E. v. varius:

A third subspecies is sometimes recognized: jelskii[2].


Open areas, savannas, gallery forests and borders, and more rarely actual woodland.



Feeds on both insects and fruits. The austral migrant subspecies appear to eat more fruit than the residential birds.


Northern South American birds are resident while southern birds migrate north during winter.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Mobley, J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Variegated Flycatcher (Empidonomus varius). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/57474 on 29 July 2019).
  4. Variegated Flycatcher (Empidonomus varius), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: https://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/Species-Account/nb/species/varfly
  5. What Bird

Recommended Citation

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