Olivesided flycatcher

Contopus borealis

SUBFAMILY

Fluvicolinae

TAXONOMY

Contopus borealis Swainson, 1832. Monotypic. OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Boreal peewee; French: Moucherolle à côtés olive; German: Fichtentyrann; Spanish: Pibi Boreal.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

7.5 in (19 cm). Stout flycatcher with a large head, short neck, and short tail. Plumage includes brownish olive upperparts, head, crest, and wings; and dull white throat, center breast strip, belly, and undertail coverts. Bill is large and mostly black, with a dull orange lower mandible.

DISTRIBUTION

Breeding regions include Alaska, most of Canada, the northwest United States, California, and the Rocky Mountains. Winters from Southern Central American to Peru.

HABITAT

Mountainous terrain and coniferous forest. Also frequents burns, bogs, and swamps.

BEHAVIOR

Solitary and reclusive; often perches on a high, exposed limb or the top of a dead or living tree. Vocalization is often described as "quick, THREE beers!" with the second note higher. Also trebles a "pip!" Aggressively defends nesting territory against predators and humans.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Often from a dead branch, hawks large insects (up to the size of cicadas, beetles, and honeybees) in mid-flight and returns to the same perch.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Breeds monogamously once per year. Female builds cup-shaped nest, usually on horizontal branches of coniferous trees. Clutch consists of three to four eggs, incubated 14 to 17 days by the female; young fledge at 21 to 23 days.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened, but many areas host declining populations; a loss of wintering habitat is the suspected cause.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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