Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2022-15a

Common name:

Dusky-capped Flycatcher

Scientific name: Myiarchus tuberculifer
Date: 4/26/22
Time: Approximately 10:00 AM
Length of time observed: Off and on for 20+ minutes
Number: 1
Age: Adult
Sex: Unknown
Location: Lytle Ranch
County: Washington
Elevation: Approximately 2800’
Distance to bird: 20-25 yards
Optical equipment: Swarovsky 12X50 Binoculars (Other observers each had different optics)
Photos - Canon 7D Mark ll camera with 150-600 Tameron lens
Weather: Mostly sunny, calm, warm.
Light Conditions: Typical mid-morning light.
Description:        Size of bird: L 6.5-7” (estimated)- Smaller than Ash-throated Flycatcher
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Classic Myiarchus shape
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Brown head, gray chin/throat/breast, yellow belly, brownish gray-olive back. (See photos)
(Description:)            Bill Type: Thin, black with paler area at base of lower mandible. (See photos)
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Medium size flycatcher, on the small side for Myiarchus. Dull brown head, Brownish gray-olive back. Gray chin, throat, and upper breast. Yellow (not bright, but distinct and not pale) lower breast and belly. Dark brown wings, rufous outer primaries. Wing bars were indistinct. Upper-side of tail mostly dark brown. Underside of tail was muted brown with no rufous coloration. Longish, thin, black bill with paler area at base of lower mandible.

Song or call & method of delivery: I am hearing impaired and could barely make out the call. Kendall Watkins and the Sommerfelds heard it several times very clearly. They describe the sound as a very distinctive and unique soft, plaintive whistle that rises slightly in pitch and then drops (peeeuuuu). Kendall Watkins recordings will be attached to this record.

Behavior: Bird was foraging in thick brush, seldom higher than 5’ from the ground, and only on the ground briefly once or twice. As it worked a 30’ or 40’ long section of brush, it would periodically disappear from sight, then re-emerge. Did not seem disturbed by our presence.
Habitat: Generally, Lytle Ranch is a unique and diverse desert/riparian/agricultural montage of habitats. Specifically, the bird was not near the stream, and favored the low, thick brush at the base of a small upward slope that borders the cultivated fields on the East between the pond and the North edge of the milo field.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
The only other realistic possibility for this bird would be the Ash-throated Flycatcher. Ash-throated Flycatcher would be notably larger, and would have conspicuous wing bars with bright/pale tips. The gray on the breast would extend well into the belly, and the belly color would be less yellow, more of a pale yellow wash. Ash-throated Flycatcher would also generally be expected to have dark across the tail tip (adult). Additionally, there was no rufous color in the tail as might be expected on an Ash-throated. Bill would be thicker. Perhaps most significantly, the Ash-throated Flycatcher vocalizations bear no similarity to those of this bird.
“Brown-crested (M. tyrannulus) and Great Crested (M. crinitus) flycatchers are also noticeably larger, have longer bills, whitish wing-bars, rufous edgings on rectrices, and no contrast between crown and back; Great Crested also shows broad white stripe on outer margin of innermost tertial.” Additionally, as previously noted, there was no rufous color in the tail as might be expected in the Brown-crested Flycatcher.
“Yucatan Flycatcher (M. yucatanensis) is most similar to Dusky-capped Flycatcher. Yucatan Flycatcher has less contrast between crown and back than eastern Mexican subspecies of Dusky-capped Flycatcher, is slightly larger, has paler grayish lores, and often has an almond-shaped eye-ring.” (Quoted from Cornell Lab of Ornithology “Birds Of The World.”
Previous experience with this and similar species:
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
First time observing Dusky-capped Flycatcher.
All observers have had many encounters with Ash-throated Flycatchers.
References consulted: Sibley’s Birds of the West, The Sibley Field Guide to birds of Western North America, Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology “Birds Of The World.”
Description from: Memory and photos taken at time of sighting.
Observer: Terry Reid
Observer's address: 2675 E Canyon Rd, Springville, UT 84663
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: A Dusky-capped Flycatcher was reported on eBird by John Neill and Lisa Thompson on 4/23/22. Kendall Watkins located the bird (possibly/presumably the same bird reported by Neill and Thompson?) that is the subject of this report on 4/25/22. Kendall relocated the bird on 4/26/22 and it was observed by Kendall Watkins, Terry Reid, Steve Sommerfeld and Cindy Sommerfeld,
Date prepared: 5/4/22
Additional material: Photos, Sounds recordings .wav
Additional comments: The field marks all seem good, the comparative differences rules out other possibilities, and the vocalization is diagnostic. All of the observers referenced in this report are certain this was a Dusky-capped Flycatcher.