Tag Archives: Pyrocephalus

Pyrocephalus dubius Gould

San Cristobal Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus dubius 

The Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus (Boddaert)), probably the most colorful of the tyrant flycatchers, has several subspecies that are distributed over nearly all of South- and Central America. The two forms that occur on the Galápagos archipelago, however, are now treated as distinct species. [1]


The Little Vermilion Flycatcher, also known as Darwin’s Flycatcher (Pyrhocephalus nanus Gould) (see depiction below), is endemic to the Galápagos Islands, where it is widely distributed especially at the higher elevations, it does, however, not occur on Isla San Cristóbal, where the San Cristobal Flycatcher occurs, or rather did occur. 

The birds from Isla San Cristóbal differed from those of the other islands in their coloration. The males had a paler brown plumage, they had a paler red colored underside and a darker red crown. The females had a striking eye stripe, the underside was strong ocher to light rust colored, the throat was a little lighter ocher colored.

The San Cristobal Flycatcher apparently was last restricted to the very dry areas along the western coast of the island and were recorded as being extremely rare in the 1980s when large amounts of the native vegetation had been replaced by invasive plant species which again led to the disappearance of the native insect fauna which the birds fed upon.

The last record dates to 1987.

The San Cristobal Flycatcher was never seen since and is now considered most likely extinct. 



[1] Ore Carmi; Christopher C. Witt; Alvaro Jaramillo; John P. Dumbacher: Phylogeography of the Vermilion Flycatcher species complex: Multiple speciation events, shifts in migratory behavior, and an apparent extinction of a Galápagos-endemic bird species. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 102: 152-173. 2016  


Darwin’s Flycatcher (Pyrhocephalus nanus)

Depiction from: ‘John Gould: The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle, under the command of Captain Fitzroy, during the years 1832-1836. Part III, Birds. London, Smith, Elder & Co. 1838’  

(public domain) 


edited: 11.06.2020