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I’ve changed my mind a dozen times (at least!) whether the bird whose images I’m posting today is a Brown-crested Flycatcher or its very close cousin, an Ash-throated Flycatcher.
I’ve finally settled on Ash-throated although without a ton of conviction and I won’t feel bad if it turns out that I’m wrong.
There are several flycatcher species that closely resemble each other. Ash-throated and Brown-crested Flycatchers fall into this group. In southern Arizona, Ash-throated Flycatchers are year-round residents whereas their Brown-crested cousins are here in spring and summer.
I’m going with Ash-throated Flycatcher for the following reasons. First, habitat. Ash-throated Flycatchers are typically found in dry, brushy habitats, which is precisely where I found this individual, in an area where desert merged into scrub vegetation. Brown-crested Flycatchers can sometimes be found in similar habitats but they have a preference for more wooded areas.
Second, appearance. This is where things can get a bit subjective, but Brown-crested Flycatchers have much larger beaks than Ash-throated Flycatchers display. This bird’s beak, while not small, doesn’t appear to have the heroic dimensions of a Brown-crested Flycatcher’s beak. Also, Ash-throated Flycatchers have a dark brown area across the tips of their tails, something that this bird definitely appears to have.
So, Ash-throated is my choice. Someone will probably correct me but if so, no hard feelings. Bird species identification definitely isn’t my forte. I just photograph them.
Images made with a Canon R5, Canon EF 400mm f4 DO II lens+Canon EF 1.4x telextender, M setting (auto ISO), ISO 400, f11 @ 1/400, +1 1/3 stops exposure compensation.