The Great Crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus) is a large insect-eating bird of the tyrant flycatcher family. It is the most widespread member of the genus Myiarchus in North America and is found over most of the eastern and mid-western portions of the continent. It dwells mostly in the treetops and rarely is found on the ground.
Adults are brownish on the upperparts with yellow underparts; they have a long rusty brown tail and a bushy crest. Their throat and breast are gray.
They wait on a high perch and fly out to catch insects in flight. Sometimes they may be seen hovering to pick food off of vegetation, buildings, and even windows. They also eat fruits and berries. [Wikipedia]
A large, assertive flycatcher with rich reddish-brown accents and a lemon-yellow belly, the Great Crested Flycatcher is a common bird of Eastern woodlands. Its habit of hunting high in the canopy means it’s not particularly conspicuous—until you learn its very distinctive call, an emphatic rising whistle. These flycatchers swoop after flying insects and may crash into the foliage in pursuit of leaf-crawling prey. They are the only Eastern flycatchers that nest in cavities, and this means they sometimes make use of nest boxes. [All About Birds]
Great Crested Flycatcher Facts [All About Birds]
- Though they’re flycatchers, these birds also eat a fair amount of fruit. Instead of picking at the flesh of small fruit, Great Crested Flycatchers swallow the fruit whole and regurgitate the pits, sometimes several at a time.
- Great Crested Flycatchers weave shed snake skin into their nest. Where it’s readily available, as in Florida, nearly every nest contains snakeskin. They also seem to look for flimsy, crinkly nest materials—they’ve also used onion skins, cellophane, or plastic wrappers.
- Where other insect-snatching birds like Eastern Wood-Pewees, Least Flycatchers, Acadian Flycatchers, or Eastern Phoebes share their habitat, Great Crested Flycatchers exploit a niche higher in the canopy to avoid direct competition for food. High up, they swoop out farther for prey, using multiple dead-branch perches.
- The oldest recorded Great Crested Flycatcher was at least 14 years, 11 months old when it was found in Vermont in 1967. It had been banded in New Jersey in 1953.