Dusky-Capped Flycatcher

Myiarchus tuberculifer
Range Map

I first met this bird at the Arivaca Cienega. It looks very much like the Ash-Throated Flycatcher, but sounds very different. This bird’s call is a whiny whistle, whereas the Ash-Throat has a trilled character to its call.

Birds in the genus Myiarchus nest in cavities. Taxonomists recognise up to 13 subspecies of Dusky-Capped Flycatcher:

  • M. t. olivascens breeds in southwestern USA in Arizona and New Mexico, and in northwestern Mexico. They spend winters in western Mexico south through Sonora south to Oaxaca.
  • M. t. lawrenceii lives in eastern Mexico from Nuevo León to Tabasco and Chiapas, and south to northern Central America.
  • M. t. tuberculifer lives in the Amazon basin, Trinidad, and southeastern Brazil to Rio de Janeiro.
  • M. t. brunneiceps lives in Panama and Colombia.
  • M. t. pallidus lives in Colombia and Venezuela.
  • M. t. nigriceps lives in southern Colombia and western Ecuador.
  • M. t. atriceps lives in southern Ecuador, and in the Andes south to Argentina.
  • M. t. nigricapillus lives in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.
  • M. t. querulus lives in southwestern Mexico from Sinaloa south to Oaxaca.
  • M. t. platyrhynchus lives on Cozumel Island, off the northeastern Yucatán Peninsula.
  • M. t. manens lives in eastern Mexico from Tabasco east to Yucatán, Quintana Roo, and northern Central America.
  • M. t. connectens lives in northern Central America.
  • M. t. littoralis lives on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

This bird’s normal range is from northern South America, Central America, and Mexico. While they have been recorded further north, southeast Arizona and southwestern New Mexico are as far north as we expect them to travel in spring and summer. During my visit to south Texas in the winter of 2021, I met one of these birds in McAllen, proving once again, birds don’t always pay attention to range maps. Otherwise, it would not have ventured the extra 100-plus miles into Texas.

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