Texas Flycatchers and Their Kin

The Family Tyrannidae includes flycatchers and their relatives, including kingbirds, phoebes and wood-pewees, among others. We enjoy watching and photographing flycatchers as they sally out from their perches to grab insects. This behavior is common among temperate and subtropical members of the group. Like dragonflies, they tend to return to the same perch again and again. This sometimes allows the photographer to capture beauty shots as well as neat hunting/eating scenes–as the first two images below show.

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher at Anahuac  NWR
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, Texas. Canon EOS 7D/100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS. Hand-held, natural light.
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher with bee fly at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge.
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher with Bee Fly at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge. Who do bee flies think they’re fooling? To the experts, they’re just another kind of tasty fly! Canon EOS 7D/500mm f/4L IS (+1.4x TC). Natural light.
Eastern Kingbird at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, Texas
Portrait: Eastern Kingbird at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, Texas. Canon EOS 7D/500mm f/4L IS (+1.4x TC). Natural light.
Great-crested Flycatcher at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, Texas.
Great-crested Flycatcher at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, Texas. Canon EOS 7D/100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS. Hand-held, natural light.
Male Vermilion Flycatcher at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, Texas
Male Vermilion Flycatcher at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, Texas. What can you say? One of the most beautiful birds in North America. Canon EOS 7D/500mm f/4L IS (+1.4x TC). Natural light.
Female Vermilion Flycatcher at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, Texas
Female Vermilion Flycatcher at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, Texas. Not as spectacular as the male, but still a handsome bird. Canon EOS 7D/500mm f/4L IS (+1.4x TC). Natural light.
Couch's Kingbird, South Texas
“I’ve got something for you, Mr. Photographer!” Couch’s Kingbird on mesquite tree. Estero Llano Grande State Park, Rio Grand Valley, South Texas. Canon EOS 7D/500mm f/4L IS (+1.4x TC). Natural light.
Eastern Wood-Pewee at Lost Maple State Natural Area, Central Texas.
Eastern Wood-Pewee at Lost Maples State Natural Area, Central Texas. Lost Maples is a reliable place to see Wood-Pewees during the summer months. Canon EOS 7D/500mm f/4L IS (+1.4x TC). Natural light.
Great Kiskadee at Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge.
Great Kiskadee at Estero Llano Grande State Park, Rio Grande Valley, South Texas. I remember chasing this bird around for quite a while until I could get a shot through the brush. Such “keyhole” shots are never fully satisfying. The largest of the North American flycatchers, the Great Kiskadee may be found in marsh, swamp, and riparian environments. Canon EOS 7D/500mm f/4L IS (+1.4x TC). Natural light.
Eastern Phoebe at Brazos Bend State Park, Texas.
Eastern Phoebe at Brazos Bend State Park, Texas. The most common flycatcher along the Upper Texas Gulf Coast during the cooler months, Eastern Phoebes are a delight to watch as they hawk insects over water and then return to their perches to devour them. Canon EOS 7D/500mm f/4L IS (+1.4x TC). High-speed synchronized fill-flash.

©2013 Christopher R. Cunningham and Elisa D. Lewis. All rights reserved. No text or images may be duplicated or distributed without permission.

2 Responses

    1. Hey Tom:

      Thanks again for the kind words! Hope you guys got out this weekend for this spectacular weather. We were down at East Beach yesterday–gorgeous day with lots of hunting waders and shorebirds. Cheers, Chris

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