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Say's Flycatcher

Say's Flycatcher

The definitive website on wildbirds & nature

Birds of America

By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.


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[Say's Phoebe.]

[Sayornis saya.]


This species was first discovered by TITIAN PEALE, Esq. of Philadelphia, and named after Mr. THOMAS SAY by BONAPARTE, who described and figured it in his continuation Of WILSON's American Ornithology. It appears to range over a very extensive portion of country, lying between Mexico and the settlements of the British Fur Companies, a pair having been procured at Carlton House, as mentioned by Dr. RICHARDSON. Little is yet known of the habits of this species, but it would seem, from Mr. NUTTALL'S remarks, to be a rupestrine Flycatcher, and not strictly arboreal, as supposed by Mr. SWAINSON.

"We first observed this bird," says Mr. NUTTALL, "in our route westward, about the 14th of June, within the first range of the Rocky Mountains called the Black Hills, and in the vicinity of that northern branch of the Platte known by the name of Larimie's Fork. At the time, we saw a pair perched as usual on masses of rocks, from which, like the Pewee, though occasionally alighted, they flew after passing insects, without uttering any note that we heard; and from their predilection, it is probable they inhabit among broken bills and barren rocks, where we have scarcely a doubt, from their behaviour, they had at this time a brood in a nest among these granite cliffs. They appeared very timorous on our approach, and seemed very limited in their range. Except among the Blue Mountains of the Columbia, we scarcely ever saw them again. Their manners appear to be very much like those of the Common Pewee; but they are much more silent and shy."

SAY'S FLYCATCHER, Muscicapa Saya, Bonap. Amer. Orn., vol. i. p. 20.
MUSCICAPA SAYA, Bonap. Syn., p. 67.
TYRANNULA SAYA, Swains. and Rich. F. Bor. Amer., vol. ii. p. 142.
SAY'S FLYCATCHER, Muscicapa Saya, Nutt. Man., vol. i. p. 277.
SAY'S FLYCATCHER, Muscicapa Saya, Aud. Orn. Biog., vol. iv. p. 428.

Third quill longest, second and fourth scarcely shorter, first a little longer than sixth; tail very slightly emarginate; upper parts greyish-brown; upper tail-coverts and tail brownish-black; wings of a darker tint than the back, the feathers margined with brownish-white; a dusky spot before the eye; fore part and sides of neck light greyish-brown, shaded with pale brownish-red on the breast and abdomen; lower wing-coverts reddish-white.

Male, 7, wing 4 2/12

Arkansas. Columbia river. Fur Countries. Never seen along the Atlantic. Abundant. Migratory.

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