Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Vermilion Flycatcher - Warning Colors?

These little guys sit exposed on branches watching for flying insects to capture. They are very easy to see. Too easy. Hawks and falcons should have no trouble finding and catching all of these vermilion colored targets. Brightly colored animals like poison arrow frogs, monarch butterflies, and yellow jackets are advertising the fact that they are either bad tasting or dangerous. I think someone should check to see if these birds have poisonous feathers or taste pretty terrible. They are too visible! .

More flycatchers but these are from Arizona
Las Vegas Wetlands Project, Nevada. Canon 40d, 500 mm lens.


  1. Hello
    Wow this vermilion flycatcher has such attractive color..There is no wonder that hawks and falcons can find this bird easily..Thank you for this nice post.

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  2. I have observed quite a bit of vermilion flycatcher behavior in Tucson, AZ. I think they are a bit too small for those birds. I have never seen a raptor go after this bird. As a matter of fact, when a raptor comes by (usually a Cooper's Hawk in this case) during nesting season, I have seen the male Vermilion rise into the air in full display mode as if to diver the hawks attention from the nest. The hawk seems to ignore it.

  3. Joan-
    I have seen sharp- shinned hawks dining on Juncos and a Kestrel pulling young sparrows out of their nest and eating them. These birds are just as small as the Vermillion Flycatcher.


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