Great Crested Flycatcher

Myiarchus crinitus

When the male Great Crested Flycatcher sings, he picks a perch within the canopy, well away from branch ends. He wants to be heard, not to be seen. Hunting perches require an unobstructed view of their prey. So when on the lookout for meals, both males and females usually choose leafless branches high in the canopy.

Great Crested Flycatchers rarely leave the treetops. When they spend time on the ground, they prefer to fly from place to place on the ground rather than walk or hop.

These birds love to weave snakeskins into their nest. Where readily available, nearly every nest contains snakeskin. If shed snake skins are unavailable, they will look for other flimsy, crinkly nest materials, such as onion skins, cellophane, or plastic wrappers.

Taxonomists regard these birds as monotypic (we recognized no subspecies). Northern breeders have shorter beaks than their southern counterparts. But this trait does not justify any subspecific distinction.

I captured my first images of these birds in 2023 during my last days in Canada, visiting the province of Ontario, north of the Great Lakes. I camped on the northern shore of Lake Ontario at Presqu’ile Provincial Park. Just before I left, I found these birds foraging overhead. Several weeks later, I met more of these birds while traveling south through Pennsylvania.

Range Map for Great Crested Flycatcher
Range Map

6 Photos

Click map markers to reveal further information