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Birds of Yosemite National Park (1954, 1963) by Cyril A. Stebbins and Robert C. Stebbins


TYRANT FLYCATCHERS: Family Tyrannidae

WESTERN KINGBIRD
WESTERN KINGBIRD
WESTERN KINGBIRD (Tyrannus verticalis): 8-9 1/2 in. Head and nape ash-gray; throat whitish, grading gradually to darker on breast, running to yellow on belly and under tail; upper parts dark gray; crown patch in male scarlet, often concealed; outer web of outer tail feather white; tail black, straight across. Sometimes flies after other birds. Often perches on wires and telephone poles. In feeding commonly flies out from perch and returns.

Frequents dry open terrain usually with few widely spaced trees. Breeds chiefly in the Lower and Upper Sonoran life zones. Found usually below 5,000 feet in the Yosemite region. Occasionally seen in Yosemite Valley in the summer and fall, and at Mono Lake.


ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER
ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER
ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus cinerascens): 8 - 8 1/2 in. Upper parts grayish-brown; top of head brown; wings with two whitish bars; throat whitish grading on breast to ashgray; belly tinged with pale yellow; crown feathers long, often raised, giving appearance of crest; outer edges of primaries and under side of tail rufous. Nests in abandoned woodpecker holes or other cavities in trees.

S. V. in brushlands, usually where there are a few trees. Breeds in the Lower and Upper Sonoran life zones. C. V. at lower elevations in the Yosemite region. Occasionally seen in Yosemite Valley.


BLACK PHOEBE
BLACK PHOEBE
BLACK PHOEBE (Sayornis nigricans): 6 1/2 in. Head, breast, and upper parts black; belly and under tail coverts white; weakly crested. Immature: Head and neck dark brown. Flies after insects and returns to perch. Nest of mixed mud and grass placed on sides of buildings, bridges, cliffs, etc. over or near water.

Closely associated with water, running or quiet, often where there are trees, cliffs, or high banks. Widespread R. breeding chiefly in the Upper Sonoran life zone. S. V. to lower elevations in the Yosemite region; breeds in Yosemite Valley, along Merced River.

TRAILL’S FLYCATCHER (Empidonaae traillii): 5-6 in. Above gray-brown or olive-gray; head slaty; under parts light gray, tinged with yellow posteriorly; two light-colored, inconspicuous wing-bars; eye-ring whitish. Song psit-tweer given repeatedly; also a soft staccato whit given two or three times.

In the breeding season, closely restricted to willows. Widespread S. V. ranging from the Lower Sonoran to the Canadian life zone. Widespread at lower elevations in winter. Common S. V. to Yosemite region; present in Yosemite Valley.


SAY'S PHOEBE
SAY’S PHOEBE
SAY’S PHOEBE (Sayornis saya): 7-8 in. Above grayish-brown; tail blackish; straight across when open, slightly emarginate at rest; belly and region under tail rust-brown. Plaintive call, pee-er.

Frequents open arid terrain. Breeds chiefly in the Lower and Upper Sonoran life zones. C. V. at low elevations in the Yosemite region. Observed in Yosemite Valley.

HAMMOND’S FLYCATCHER (Empidonax hammondii): 5 in. Above brownish- or olive-gray, darker on head; two whitish wing-bars; breast dark gray, otherwise under parts pale yellowish. Song, see’wit, pseet, swerz, etc., the three notes emphatic and often repeated. Call a weak pit.

Summers in the Sierra Nevada, breeding in the Canadian life zone where it is frequently found high (often 20 to over 100 feet) in coniferous trees, particularly red firs and dense stands of lodgepole pine. In migration far less restricted, frequenting deciduous woods, chaparral, and conifers. Has been seen as high as 10,500 feet on Mount Clark in the Yosemite region.

DUSKY FLYCATCHER (Empidonax oberholseri): S’ 4-6 in. Resembles Hammond’s flycatcher but lighter and with broader bill. The two flycatchers are distinguished with difficulty. Song a group of three or more lisping notes, se-peet, wurt’zel, see’-pit, the middle note not as low or monosyllabic as the Hammond’s. The song is generally more vigorous and varied than the latter’s. Call note pit or see’pit.

Frequents mixed brushland (manzanita, snow-brush, etc.) and deciduous or coniferous trees. Forages and nests in low growth. Breeds chiefly in the Canadian life zone where S. V. in Yosemite region. M. through lowlands in spring and fall.

WESTERN FLYCATCHER
WESTERN FLYCATCHER
WESTERN FLYCATCHER (Empidonax difficilis): S’4-6 in. Above brownish or olive-gray; throat yellowish; breast yellowish, tinged with brown; belly yellow; wings with two whitish bars; eye-ring whitish; upper mandible black; lower mandible pinkish or yellow. Call a bright lisping swee’ip with rising inflection. Song three-parted, see’rip, sip, see’rip, repeated at intervals.

Frequents shaded stream and lake borders. Partial to wooded canyon bottoms. Breeds chiefly west of the main Sierran axis in the Upper Sonoran and Transition life zones. S. V. in Yosemite region; present in Yosemite Valley.


WESTERN WOOD PEWEE
WESTERN WOOD PEWEE
WESTERN WOOD PEWEE (Contopus sordidulus): 6-61/2 in. Above dark gray-brown; under parts grayish, lighter on throat and abdomen with dark wash on each side; no eye-ring; inconspicuous crest and wing-bars; bill dark above and light below. Sits in an upright, straight-backed position on the lower limbs of trees; commonly holds tail on line with back. Often perches and nests on a dead limb.

Frequents broken deciduous or coniferous woods or a mixture of the two. Tends to avoid densely foliaged trees. S. V. from the Upper Sonoran to the Hudsonian life zone. Widespread during migration, reaching desert areas. Common species in the Yosemite region. Its monotonous pee-ur may be heard throughout Yosemite Valley in summer.


OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER
OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER
OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER (Nuttallornis borealis): 7 1/4-8 in. (Ill., p. 35) Above sooty-brown except patch of white on each side of rump; white patches sometimes hidden; dark sides separated by whitish streak that extends from white of throat to yellowish-white of belly; large head with partial crest; tail short. One of the larger flycatchers. Song a clear, strong wher, whee, whew, the second note the highest, the third with a slurring drop in pitch. Song also suggests What peeves you? Call a short tip-tip or tit, tit, tip, on one pitch and often repeated.

Breeds in broken coniferous forests, chiefly in the Transition and Canadian life zones. Seeks high perches, often dead stubs of coniferous trees. S. V. to Yosemite region. Present but not common in Yosemite Valley.



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Online Library: Title Author California Geology History Indians Muir Mountaineering Nature Management

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