Piratic Flycatcher Legatus leucophaius


The Piratic Flycatcher has usually enjoyed recognition as the sole occupant of its own genus for more than 150 years, whilst its closest relationships remain to be fully elucidated. However, its piratical nesting behavior suggests a close link to Myiozetetes, and this link is also supported by some, but not all, published molecular data. Nests of other birds, such as other flycatchers, but also species as diverse as thornbirds, becards, and icterids, provided they build gobular nests, can be usurped by the truly ‘Piratic’ Flycatcher. It is comparatively small-sized and generally dark-plumaged tyrant flycatcher, with a semi-concealed yellow crown patch, obvious white supercilium and moustachial, and dark-streaked underparts. It inhabits a variety of wooded habitats, provided that some tall trees remain, and the Piratic Flycatcher has a very broad distribution, from eastern Mexico south, and across much of the northern two-thirds of South America. In its southernmost range, for example in Paraguay and northern Argentina, and across all of Middle America, the species is a breeding summer visitor alone.

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© Curtis Marantz

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Piratic Flycatcher (Legatus leucophaius), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: https://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/Species-Account/nb/species/pirfly1