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Social Flycatcher - BirdForum Opus

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Alternative name: Vermilion-crowned Flycatcher

Photo © by Celso Paris
Sorocaba, Sao Paulo, SE Brazil, 2017
Myiozetetes similis


Photo © by John Baines
Tilajari Hotel Resort, Arenal Volcano area, Costa Rica, February 2007
Note the hint of vermilion central crown that can be seen on this image.

16cm (6.25"). Medium sized.
Short black bill.
Olive above; wing coverts and inner remiges edged grayish-white to buffy-white; crown brownish-gray (little contrast with olive back).
The semi-concealed central crown patch is vermilion, as suggested by its alternative common name: Vermilion-crowned Flycatcher. The long white eyebrow does not meet on nape. Sides of head dusky-blackish; throat white, rest of underparts bright yellow.
Immature: No crown patch, and wings and tail narrowly edged rufous.


The mostly concealed crown patch is vermilion in Central America but orange-red in NW South America and even more orange in the south-east end of the range.

Similar Species

Similar to the Rusty-margined Flycatcher, but adult Social Flycatcher lacks rufous in the wings, has olive (less brown) back, duller mask, and reddish-orange (not yellow-orange) crown patch. In Panama, Social F has hints of wing bars (vs. not) and paler belly than Rusty-margined F. In some areas, the best way to separate the two species is by listening for different voice. Beware of juvenile Social Flycatcher that has rufous in the primaries, but also has pale edgings to coverts.
Other superficially similar flycatchers have longer bill, yellow throat, white eye-brow meeting on nape or greyer head.


Central and South America
North-western Mexico to North-western Peru, North-eastern Argentina and Southern Brazil. Locally up to an altitude of 1500 m (4900 ft). Generally common.
Accidental vagrant to the United States with 1 record at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in Texas.


Photo © by njlarsen
Chichén Itza, Yucatan, Mexico, May 2012


There are 7 subspecies[1]:

  • M. s. primulus:
  • Western Mexico (southern Sonora to northern Sinaloa)
  • M. s. hesperis:
  • Western Mexico (southern Sinaloa to southern Zacatecas, south-western Puebla and Oaxaca)
  • M. s. texensis :
  • M. s. columbianus:
  • M. s. similis:
  • M. s. grandis:
  • Western Ecuador (Esmeraldas) to extreme north-western Peru (Tumbes)
  • M. s. pallidiventris:


River banks, ponds, gardens, pastures and clearings with scattered trees. Often in urban areas.


Often in small groups.


Hawks insects in the air or darts out to snatch them from shrubs, bushes and vegetaion. Also eats seeds, berries and small fruit; will also catch tadpoles in shallow water.


Calls: sharp, harsh teeer or peeeeur, or a sad pe-ah or chee; also a repeated scolding wheer, a chipping wit, and a series of chu notes. Some variation in voice depending on subspecies.


Nest is a rather large structure with side entrance.


  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. BF Member observations
  3. A thread discussing identification is here. [[1]]

Recommended Citation

External Links

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