Monday, May 30, 2016

The Fine Art of Subtlety: Acadian Flycatcher (Empidonax virescens)

With special thanks to Jody Allair of Bird Studies Canada, I recently enjoyed observing a pair of Acadian Flycatchers on their breeding grounds in the dark Carolinian Forest of southern Ontario. The bird in the first photo is perched in a hemlock, a feature of their habitat selection, at least in this portion of their range. You might be excused for thinking they look just like any other empid (Empidonax flycatcher) but they are quite distinct with their long bill with very pale lower mandible and even partly pale sides to upper mandible; long primary projection; rich green mantle; yellowish tones in eye-ring, underparts and wingbars (less so than Yellow-bellied); “gentle” facial expression (created by the pale lores and malar); and of course their famous “pizza” two-note song. Watching this bird throw their head back and sing was certainly one of the avian highlights of my recent visit to Ontario for various meetings.

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