Vermilion Flycatcher, Pyrocephalus
The flamboyantly plumaged male Vermilion Flycatcher is the target
of every birder making a first visit to the desert southwest of the
States. This is the northern limit of this species'
normal range, which extends southwards through Mexico, Central America, and
much of South
America. A few individual birds reach Central and Northern California from time to time.
The female is much less colorful, showing a degree of sexual dimorphism unusual among flycatchers.
Above, a female apparently viewing potential nest site; Birds of North America Online reports
nest "almost always fitted into horizontal fork of branch in an area free of leaves." Below, female
on nest; only females incubate in this species.
Male approaching female during mating season.
and below, a male early in breeding season (February) in Arizona
attacking his own reflection in an automobile window. I was lucky to
come upon this spectacular behavior, not uncommon with this species according to Birds of North America Online.
Above, a juvenile female; note the fresh feathers.
Below, three first-cycle males in early spring; they show variable
amounts of adult bright
red mixed with white and brown in the areas that are solid red on adults.