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Ornate Flycatcher - Tropical Rainforest Standout

Updated on May 17, 2011
Ornate Flycatcher (Myiotriccus ornatus)
Ornate Flycatcher (Myiotriccus ornatus) | Source

Of the plethora of birds that inhabit the tropical rainforest of the Americas there is no other family that causes more confusion in identity than the Tyrant Flycatchers. Their similar colors, patterns and habits make it difficult to distinguish several species, even by the most experience veteran. There are, however, certain individuals that are unmistakable due to their unique appearance. The Ornate Flycatcher falls into this category.

Range

The Ornate Flycatcher can be found inhabiting the borders of mountain forests and subtropical zones or the rainforest from northern Colombia to southern Peru. Within Ecuador there are two entirely different races, the phoenicurus of the eastern slope and the stellatus on the west.

Preferring altitudes from 800 – 2,000 m (2,600 – 6,500 ft), the Ornate Flycatcher can be observed in Ecuador from the northern border down into El Oro province on the western slope. On the eastern slope it can be located along the entire length of the Andes Mountains.

Appearance

The Ornate Flycatcher is a diminutive bird measuring 12 cm (4 ¾ in) in length. It is very common within its range and due to its unique coloring and appearance it is easily identifiable. 

Ornate Flycatcher (Western Slope)
Ornate Flycatcher (Western Slope) | Source

Both male and female are similar in appearance. On both slopes the head and throat are gray, the intensity being much greater on the face and crown. There is a yellow coronal stripe although this is not readily visible in the field. There is an obvious preocular (in front of eye) patch that is easily discernable from a distance, appearing as large white orbs peering at its prey.

The back is dark olive in hue while the rump is bright yellow, similar to its belly. The wings are dusky and the breast a dark olive. On the eastern slope the tail is entirely rufous whereas the western slope race is dusky with rufous only at the base.

Habits and Habitats

The Ornate Flycatcher can be found along the borders of wooded areas in the tropical rainforest. It is usually observed in pairs perched close together, sitting erect on branches at low to middle heights. It does not generally accompany mixed flocks, preferring a more solitary lifestyle.

Being an insectivore, it can be observed making short sallies into the air to capture its prey. After several such movements it will continue on to another location, customarily near the original. Although a fairly timid creature, if one is patient and motionless, it may perch very near for closer scrutiny and photos.

Summary

The Ornate Flycatcher is an adorable little bird of the tropical rainforests in South America. Its distinctive coloring and design along with its active and carefree antics provide for many hours of captivating observation. When traveling to Ecuador it can be seen Buenaventura Reserve, Copa Linga Lodge, Cordillera del Condor, Guango Lodge, Milpe Bird Sanctuary, Mindo Valley, Podocarpus-Bombuscaro & Vicinity, Rio Canande Reserve, Rio Palenque Reserve, Rio Silanche Bird Sanctuary, San Isidro, Tandayapa Valley, and Tinalandia. It is a very conspicuous species that can be found with little effort and will provide enjoyable entertainment.

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    • ColibriPhoto profile imageAUTHOR

      ColibriPhoto 

      7 years ago from Quito, Ecuador

      Thank you Pamela, they are about the size of a chickadee. They stay pretty close to the ground whereas most birds of prey are in the canopy. They stay to the forest edge where they can hide and keep away from the larger, more dangerous birds.

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Dapples 

      7 years ago from Just Arizona Now

      What a cute little bird. The photo of the blue and yellow one makes him/her look very small like a chickadee. Interesting that they are quite solitary. Seems like they could be easy prey for bigger birds.

    • StephanieBCrosby profile image

      Stephanie Bradberry 

      7 years ago from New Jersey

      Sounds like a plan!

    • ColibriPhoto profile imageAUTHOR

      ColibriPhoto 

      7 years ago from Quito, Ecuador

      Ok Stephanie, I will do that. Some of the bigger birds are cute too.

    • StephanieBCrosby profile image

      Stephanie Bradberry 

      7 years ago from New Jersey

      ColibriPhoto, I have nothing against small birds. But, hey, if you want to write a hub dedicated to me, have a field day! I like the cute birds, though.

    • ColibriPhoto profile imageAUTHOR

      ColibriPhoto 

      7 years ago from Quito, Ecuador

      Yes TajSingh, I am surrounded by many beautiful birds. Since I retired I spend most of my time photographing them and writing about them. It keeps me busy. Thanks for the comment.

    • profile image

      TajSingh 

      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi ColibriPhoto. The Ornate Flycatcher looks very cute. I've been reading your hubs and noticed that you have a passion for birds.

    • ColibriPhoto profile imageAUTHOR

      ColibriPhoto 

      7 years ago from Quito, Ecuador

      Thank you Stephanie, some of our smallest birds are only about 2 inches long. They pale in comparison to the larger ones. I will have to write some articles about some bigger birds for you.

    • StephanieBCrosby profile image

      Stephanie Bradberry 

      7 years ago from New Jersey

      ColibriPhoto, you always have the coolest looking birds, and many of your recent ones are diminutive, so they must be hard to spot except for the color. Even though I have variety here in New Jersey, it pales in comparison to the rain forest for obvious reasons. Another insightful article!

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