This group of birds, which includes tyrant flycatchers (Tyrannidae) are considered the largest family of birds on Earth, with more than 400 species. The Phainopepla is not a member of the tyrant group. Species include here are Alder, Ash-throated, Dusky, Gray, Hammond’s, Least, Olive-sided, Scissor-tailed, Sulphur-bellied, Vermillion and Willow Flycatchers, along with Black and Say’s Phoebes, Cassin’s and Western Kingbirds, Western Wood-pewee and the aforementioned Phainopepla.
Sightings of the Ash-Throated Flycatcher are not uncommon in the western US. These birds breed in desert scrub, riparian woods, brushy fields and open woods from the western United States to central Mexico.
One of my favorite birds, the Black Phoebe is often seen in the southwestern USA. They are not especially migratory, and their range is coastal California, southern Arizona and New Mexico, most of Mexico and Central America, and parts of western South America.
The Dusky Flycatcher is found in chaparral, stream-side thickets, and open brushy areas. It is extremely difficult to tell from Hammond's Flycatcher by appearance alone. These images of the Dusky Flycatcher were gathered on Santa Rosa Mountain, in southern Riverside County, in California.
The Eastern Phoebe's normal range is pretty much east of the Rocky Mountains. Summer's find them north of the Mason-Dixon Line all the way into the southern zone of the North-West Territory. This individual must have lost its way and spent the winter in the Tijuana River Valley in San Diego County.
I found this Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher at Piedras Blancas beach while photographing new baby Northern Elephant Seals. As a rarity in California, word got out quickly and folks came from far and wide to see this bird. I donated one of these images to Cal Poly as a contribution to the scientific record.