Boreal Birds
300+ species, billions of birds rely on Canada's boreal forest as critical breeding grounds
© Dick Daniels/Wikimedia Commons (CC 3.0)

Great Crested Flycatcher

Great Crested Flycatcher
Myiarchus crinitus
Perching Birds | Family: Tyrant Flycatchers, Tyrannidae

An estimated 5% of the species' North American breeding range lies within the Boreal Forest.

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Overview

This species is to woodlands what the Eastern Kingbird is to open country. It is noisy, aggressive, and even more colorful. Living mostly under the forest canopy, however, it is much more often heard than seen, and is much less in evidence than its black-and-white relative. A mystifying habit is its frequent use of shed snakeskins in its nest lining. Whether this is intended to frighten off predators or merely decorate the nest is not known. The Great Crested is the only eastern flycatcher that nests in holes.

Description

9" (23 cm). Slightly crested. Brown above, with gray throat, yellow belly, rufous wings and tail, and pale brown at base of lower mandible.

Voice

A loud, whistled, slightly buzzy wheep, sometimes repeated. Also a raucous whit-whit-whit-whit.

Nesting

5 or 6 creamy-white, brown-spotted eggs in tree cavities or bird boxes. The bulky nest is lined with all sorts of trash--cellophane, snakeskins, string, rags.

Habitat

Open forests, orchards, and large trees in farm country.

Range/Migration

Breeds from south-central and southeastern Canada to Gulf Coast. Winters in southern Florida; also in tropics.