Friday, June 3, 2016

Olive-sided Flycatcher

Rare Flycatcher Welcomed Back

The Olive-sided Flycatcher was once fairly common in New Brunswick.  It is now listed as an uncommon summer resident and migrant.  It prefers coniferous and mixed woods especially along the edges of streams and bogs. 

Olive-sided Flycatcher [Kathleen Spicer Photo]
The Olive-sided Flycatcher is a medium-sized flycatcher, about 19 cm (7.5") long.  It is just a little bit larger than a phoebe.  Although it could be mistaken for a phoebe, it is darker in colour and sports a distinguished-looking vest of dark gray.  The Olive-sided perches on the tops of trees and snags from which it vocalizes its unique, "Quick three beers".   The phoebe, on the other hand, perches lower to the ground and often is seen flipping its tail.  The olive-sided sometimes shows white patches on the sides of the rump but often these are covered by the wings.  In the photo above, taken at Apple River, NS,  you can see the dark gray vest and a hint of the white rump patch.

Olive-sided Flycatcher
The photo above shows the Olive-sided Flycatcher I recently saw on Grand Manan.  It was singing from the top of a balsam fir in a rather remote forested area.  It was probably a migrant and will likely breed in northern New Brunswick.  Its song attracted us to it.  

The Olive-sided Flycatcher breeds in the boreal forest throughout most of southern Canada.  It winters mainly in the Andes in western South America.  A few winter in southern Mexico.  
Olive-sided Flycatcher

The two photos above show the brownish-gray back and the rather short tail.  

Population numbers of this species are described as 'near threatened'.  Because of habitat loss primarily on its wintering grounds, there have been very noticeable declines in numbers of this species since the early 1960s.  Because of their scarcity, a birder in New Brunswick is always excited to see and hear one!

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