Tawny-chested flycatcher (Aphanotriccus capitalis)
Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).
The stunning tawny-chested flycatcher (Aphanotriccus capitalis) is a distinctive bird with a striking bright yellow belly and bright cinnamon-ochre breast (2). The tawny-chested flycatcher has an olive-green rump, nape and back. Its cheeks are greyish-olive and the throat is white with a buff tinge at the sides (3). The upper beak is black and the lower beak is pinkish (2) (3). The tawny-chested flycatcher has grey legs, a dusky-olive tail and dusky wings with two bright ochre-coloured wing bars (3).
Male and female tawny-chested flycatchers are similar in appearance. The male can be distinguished by a dark grey crown, whereas the female usually has an olive tinge (2).
The tawny-chested flycatcher’s song is very rapid, and the last note is often the loudest. There is more than one recorded songs for this species (3).
The tawny-chested flycatcher is native to Central America, where it occurs in north Costa Rica and south and south east Nicaragua (1).
The total range of the tawny-chested flycatcher is relatively small, with the whole population found in an area of approximately 8,000 square kilometres (2).
Dense vegetation in natural clearings, along streams, or near the edges of humid, mature, secondary forest is the main habitat of the tawny-chested flycatcher (3). It may also be found on cocoa plantations and similar semi-open areas.
This species is found in lowland and foothills, from sea level to 900 metres (2) (3).
Little is known about the nesting and breeding behaviours of the tawny-chested flycatcher. It is believed to be a crevice-nesting species, with nests recorded up to six metres above ground, in hollows of large bamboo stems (Guada), non-native bamboo (Alchornea) (3), and the hollows of fairly large trees (2).
The tawny-chested flycatcher feeds mainly on insects, in particular beetles and ants. This species forages alone or in pairs, following regular foraging routes, generally in low, dense vegetation. It makes short darting flights upwards to capture prey from branches and the undersides of leaves (3).
Habitat loss, often due to agriculture, new banana plantations and cattle-ranch expansion, is a major threat to the tawny-chested flycatcher. Logging for timber has also resulted in a decline in forest habitat (2).
Widespread forest clearance and fragmentation has occurred on a particularly large scale in Costa Rica, which is home to the biggest population of the tawny-chested flycatcher (1) (2).
Extensive habitat degradation is having a knock on effect on this species, with the general population trend decreasing.
The tawny-chested flycatcher can be found in several National Parks and Biological Reserves, including Rincón de la Vieja National Park and La Selva Biological Reserve in Costa Rica.At Rancho Naturalista, an ecotourism lodge, this species receives special protection under current management practices (2).
There are further conservation actions proposed to help protect the tawny-chested flycatcher. These include surveying its population and distribution, particularly in Nicaragua, determining its ability to survive in unnatural habitats,and increasing the suitable habitat area within protected areas (2).
Find out more about the tawny-chested flycatcher and its conservation:
BirdLife International - Tawny-chested flycatcher:
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- Secondary forest: forest that has re-grown after a major disturbance, such as fire or timber harvest, but has not yet reached the mature state of primary forest.
IUCN Red List (July, 2011)
BirdLife International - Tawny-chested flycatcher (July, 2011)
- 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.
- Stiles, F.G. and Skutch, A.F. (1989) A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica. Cornell University Press, New York.