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Fork-tailed Flycatcher


Is a beautiful bird. I LUUUUUV it!

MARC number#LocationCountyArrival dateDeparture dateObserversReport
1993-271Ram Island, MattapoisettPlymouth6/29/936/29/93B. Blodget4
1998-091Parker River NWR–Hellcat DikeEssex8/8/989/13/98S. Perkins, E. Nielsen, S. Hennin4
2005-111Eel Point Road, NantucketNantucket5/18/055/18/05S. Finley10
2008-171Chandler Pond, BrightonSuffolk4/12/084/15/08D. Kierdorf, J. Dunlavy, P. Kinnally (details) many photos13
2009-191Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge, NantucketNantucket5/7/095/7/0914
2010-681Nantucket DumpNantucket11/30/1011/30/10V. Laux (ph)16
2014-0641Mt. Auburn Cemetery, CambridgeMiddlesex5/13/145/14/14ph. A. Trautmann*19
2016-0161Bear Creek Sanctuary, SaugusEssex6/7/166/7/16ph. S. Zendeh20

Fig. 1. Fork-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus savana savana), adult male,13-16 Apr 2009,
Chandler Pond, Brighton, Suffolk (photo by J. R. Trimble)

Fork-tailed Flycatcher is a widespread species of the Neotropics. Its four poorly-differentiated subspecies break down as follows: T. s. monachus is resident from Veracruz to Colombia; T. s. sanctaemartae is resident in a small area of Venezuela and Colombia; and T. s. circumdatus is resident in lower Amazonian Brazil. Remarkably it is T. s. savana, the most southerly subspecies which breeds from Brazil south to central Argentina and Chile, that occurs as a vagrant in the United States and Canada. This species occurs annually in the US and Canada, with most records in the Northeastern US, eastern Canada, and the Gulf Coast; more anomalous records as scattered as far north as Nunavut and as far west as California (two records).

IDENTIFICATION NOTES: This species is virtually unmistakable. However, in poor light Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus) might be misidentified as Fork-tailed Flycatcher. In addition, heavily worn Fork-tailed Flycatchers with broken tail feathers might be mistaken for Eastern Kingbirds (Tyrannus tyrannus). The 1998 Plum Island bird above was in fact initially misidentified, as it was a heavily worn immature and more subtle than the striking adults.

There are at minimum 14 records without action:

1. October 22, 1916, Gay Head, Martha’s Vineyard, Dukes

2. September 26, 1961, Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard, Dukes

3. May 5, 1968, Plum Island, Newburyport, Essex

4. September 22 – October 4 1980, Chatham, Barnstable

5. September 27 – October 7, 1980, East Orleans, Barnstable

6. September 22-27, 1981, Chatham, Barnstable

7. September 16-18, 1982, Nantucket, Nantucket

8. October 11-12, 1985, East Boston, Suffolk

9. June 13, 1987, Falmouth, Barnstable

10. June 20, 1987, Marshfield, Plymouth

11. October 14, 1990, Cambridge, Middlesex

12. May 2-3, 1990, Concord, Middlesex

13. October 3, 1991, Wellfleet, Barnstable

14. May 24, 2002, Nantucket, Nantucket