Friday 17 May
Pacific royal flycatcher (Onychorhynchus occidentalis)
Pacific royal flycatcher fact file
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Pacific royal flycatcher description
Like the other royal flycatchers of the neotropics, this species has a large, brilliantly-coloured, fan-shaped crest, which is usually flat but occasionally erected to reveal its dazzling scarlet colour (yellow in the female) ornately decorated with black and steel-blue markings (2) (3) (4). The rest of the plumage is rather unspectacular in comparison, being uniformly tawny-brown on upperparts, dull yellow-orange on underparts, rufous on the rump and tail and whitish on the throat (2) (3).
- Onychorhynchus coronatus occidentalis.
- Size: 16 – 16.5 cm (2)
IUCN Red List (June, 2006)
BirdLife International (October, 2006)
- del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (2004) Handbook of the Birds of the World - Cotingas To Pipits And Wagtails. Vol. 9. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
- Graves, G.R. (1990) Function of Crest Displays in Royal Flycatchers (Onychorhynchus). Condor, 92(2): 522 - 524.
Whittingham, M.J. and Williams, R.S.R. (2000) Notes on morphological differences exhibited by Royal Flycatcher Onychorhynchus coronatus taxa. Cotinga, 13: 14 - 16. Available at:
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Pacific royal flycatcher biology
As with other royal flycatchers, the Pacific royal flycatcher is thought to feed on insects, particularly large flying insects such as dragonflies, which are snapped up in flight or gleaned from foliage (3). Although usually solitary or in pairs (5), these birds have also frequently been observed in small, mixed-species flocks (2).
Nests are typically suspended from overhanging branches and vines above shady streams, and have been found between January and April, with a juvenile collected in May (2) (5). The territory is defended by the male while the female incubates the eggs and tends to the chicks (3). During display, performed during courtship and aggressive encounters, the crest is erected and fully spread, while the head is rhythmically swayed from side to side and the bill is slowly opened and closed to reveal a bright mouth lining (3) (4).Top
Pacific royal flycatcher rangeTop
Pacific royal flycatcher habitatTop
Pacific royal flycatcher status
Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List 2006 (1).Top
Pacific royal flycatcher threats
Ongoing, rapid deforestation, particularly in lowland areas, has reduced the Pacific royal flycatcher’s now small and severely fragmented range, and will soon remove almost all unprotected forest. Meanwhile, persistent grazing by goats and cattle prevents forest regeneration. Even ‘protected areas’ are not immune to these threats, with logging continuing to occur in Cordillera de Molleturo Protection Forest, and Machalilla National Park and Tumbes Reserved Zone being affected by illegal settling and deforestation, livestock-grazing, and habitat clearance by people with land rights (2).Top
Pacific royal flycatcher conservation
The Pacific royal flycatcher is known to occur in six protected areas, including Río Palenque Scientific Centre, Jauneche Biological Reserve Station, Machalilla National Park, Cerro Blanco Protection Forest and Manglares-Churute Ecological Reserve, Ecuador, and Tumbes Reserved Zone, Peru, and probably also within Cordillera de Molleturo Protection Forest, Cañar, Ecuador (2) (3). A reforestation project within the partially-forested Chongón-Colonche Protection Forest may support the species and benefit this striking bird (2) (3).Top
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