Ash-Throated Flycatcher

Myiarchus cinerascens
Range Map

Sightings of the Ash-Throated Flycatcher are not uncommon in much of western USA. These birds breed in desert scrub, riparian woods, brushy fields and open woods from the western United States to central Mexico. They do not require water to drink. They can get their moisture supply from the bugs they eat. Most, if not all, Myiarchus flycatchers nest in cavities. These birds will use old woodpecker nest holes or natural cavities to raise their families.

Science first discovered the Ash-Throated Flycatcher in 1851 when a specimen was collected in Texas. The current scientific thinking about the taxonomy of these birds suggests two subspecies:

  • M. c. cinerascens is the race we see in the USA and the Mexican mainland. They spend winters from the southern USA to Central America.
  • M. c. pertinax we find on the Baja California peninsula.

I can recall my first meeting with an Ash-Throated Flycatcher in April 2003. I was exploring Hot Springs Mountain in the backcountry highlands of San Diego County. First meetings are special. This one was no exception. 2003 turned out to be an irruption year for this species in the county, and I began meeting them in most places I explored. I even had them visit me at my Poway home. I had my first Texas meeting with these birds at Laguna Atascosa in the spring of 2020, and it felt like I was meeting an old friend from home.

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