Amazonian Royal Flycatcher

Last updated: November 15, 2022
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
Image Credit Tiny Turkey/Shutterstock.com

They use their bright royal-looking crests during mating season

Amazonian Royal Flycatcher Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Amazonian Royal Flycatcher Conservation Status

Amazonian Royal Flycatcher Locations

Amazonian Royal Flycatcher Locations

Amazonian Royal Flycatcher Facts

Prey
Flies, cicadas, dragonflies, and moths
Main Prey
Flying insects
Name Of Young
Chicks
Group Behavior
  • Solitary/Pairs
Fun Fact
They use their bright royal-looking crests during mating season
Estimated Population Size
500,000 to 5 million
Biggest Threat
deforestation of their wetland and forest homes
Most Distinctive Feature
fan-shaped crest
Distinctive Feature
long, broad bill and long wings
Habitat
humid lowland evergreen and second-growth forests
Predators
Hawks, falcons, eagles, and owls
Diet
Insectivore
Lifestyle
  • Diurnal
Type
bird
Common Name
Amazonian royal flycatcher
Number Of Species
2
Location
South America
Average Clutch Size
1
Nesting Location
Hanging vines over water

Amazonian Royal Flycatcher Physical Characteristics

Color
  • Brown
  • Yellow
  • White
  • Chestnut
Skin Type
Feathers
Lifespan
6 years
Weight
0.34 to 0.49 ounces
Length
5.9 inches

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“These flycatchers are named for their royal-looking crowns.”

Summary

The Amazonian royal flycatcher is a medium-sized passerine bird native to the Amazon basin in South America. It inhabits humid lowland forests near streams, where it lives quietly and primarily unnoticed. During courtship, however, it flashes its large, colorful fan-like crest in hopes of attracting a mate. Find out everything there is to know about this unique bird, including where it lives, what it eats, and how it looks.

5 Amazing Amazonian Royal Flycatcher Facts

  • Amazonian flycatchers are best known for their bright royal-looking crests, primarily used during mating season.
  • They hang their nests from vines over water, making it difficult for predators to steal their eggs and young.
  • They communicate with each other by using slow, plaintive whistles.
  • These flycatchers eat flying insects like cicadas and moths.
  • Some research suggests their crests may startle or momentarily deter predators. Although, further study is needed.

Where to Find the Amazonian Royal Flycatcher

The Amazonian royal flycatcher lives in at least nine countries in South America, including Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela. They inhabit the Amazon basin in humid lowland evergreen and second-growth forests. During the breeding season, they stay in moist forests near a water source. Look for these birds in the mid-canopies along streams and seasonally flooded forests. They can be hard to spot because they don’t show their crests too often and are relatively quiet, preferring to live inconspicuously.  You will most often find them alone, perched silently in trees, where they attentively search for food.

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Amazonian Royal Flycatcher Nest

The females most likely build the nest themselves in a moist forest area near the water. It is long and narrow and hangs from branches or vines over water. This location makes it difficult for predators to reach. 

Scientific Name

The Amazonian royal flycatcher (Onychorhynchus coronatus) belongs to the Tityridae family, which encompasses passerine birds found in forest and woodland habitats in the neotropics. Their genus, Onychorhynchus, comprises the royal flycatchers. The Amazonian flycatcher has two subspecies.

Size, Appearance, & Behavior

Royal Flycatcher
The global population for Amazonian royal flycatchers is between 500,000 and 5 million mature individuals. However, this species is decreasing in its numbers due to ongoing habitat loss.

Jeff Schultes/Shutterstock.com

The Amazonian royal flycatcher is a medium-sized passerine bird, measuring 5.9 inches long and weighing 0.34 to 0.49 ounces, with an unknown wingspan. It has a long, broad bill, skinny neck, long wings, and tails. Adults are a dull brown on their upper parts with reddish-brown tails and a dark buffy yellow bellow with a white throat. Their most notable feature is their fan-shaped crest, which folds down when unused. The male has a blue, black, and red-colored crest, while the females have black, blue, and yellow-orange. You can see these birds alone or in pairs, and they communicate with slow, plaintive whistles. But they are relatively quiet and inconspicuous most of the time. These birds prefer to stay solitary, feeding under the forest understory alone.

Migration Pattern and Timing

Amazonian flycatchers are nonmigratory, meaning they live in their South American environments year-round.

Diet

Amazonian royal flycatchers are insectivores.

What Does the Amazonian Flycatcher Eat?

They mainly eat flying insects, such as flies, cicadas, dragonflies, and moths. These flycatchers forage for their food near water, catching insects mid-air or picking them off leaves. You can also find them in the understory of forests, searching for ticks, small cicadas, leafhoppers, and butterflies. It spends much of its time perched, searching for food, instead of sallying out to catch insects.

Predators, Threats, and Conservation Status

The IUCN lists the Amazonian royal flycatcher as LC or “least concern.” Due to its extensive range and significant population size, this species does not meet the “threatened” status threshold. The biggest threat to this bird is habitat loss from deforestation of their wetland and forest homes.

What Eats the Amazonian Royal Flycatcher?

Adult Amazonian flycatchers can become prey to large carnivorous birds like eagles, falcons, hawks, and owls. Their nest can also fall victim to snakes and bigger birds. While their colorful crest is primarily used for courtship. Research suggests it may also startle or momentarily deter avian and mammalian predators. 

Reproduction, Young, and Molting

We don’t know when their breeding season begins, but they typically inhabit moist riparian forests (near water) during breeding and nesting. Their courtship consists of males displaying their beautifully colored crests, which they rarely show unless finding a mate. The female lays two eggs, and the male defends the territory while she incubates. There is not enough research on how long incubation takes or when the young fledge the nest. These birds live up to six years on average.

Population

The global population for Amazonian royal flycatchers is between 500,000 and 5 million mature individuals. However, this species is decreasing in its numbers due to ongoing habitat loss. They are not experiencing any extreme fluctuations or fragmentations.

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About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer and content creator focusing on nature, wildlife, food, and travel. She graduated Kappa Beta Delta from Florida State College with a business degree before realizing writing was her true passion. She lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and enjoys hiking, reading, and cooking!

Amazonian Royal Flycatcher FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Where does the Amazonian royal flycatcher live?

They inhabit the Amazon basin in humid lowland evergreen and second-growth forests. During the breeding season, they stay in moist forests near a water source.

How big is the Amazonian royal flycatcher?

The Amazonian royal flycatcher is a medium-sized passerine bird, measuring 5.9 inches long and weighing 0.34 to 0.49 ounces, with an unknown wingspan.

What sounds does the Amazonian royal flycatcher make?

They communicate with slow, plaintive whistles. But they are relatively quiet and inconspicuous most of the time.

Do Amazonian royal flycatchers migrate?

Amazonian flycatchers are nonmigratory, meaning they live in their South American environments year-round.

What do Amazonian royal flycatchers eat?

They mainly eat flying insects, such as flies, cicadas, dragonflies, and moths.

What threatens the Amazonian royal flycatcher?

The biggest threat to this bird is habitat loss from deforestation of their wetland and forest homes.

What eats the Amazonian royal flycatcher?

Adult Amazonian flycatchers can become prey to large carnivorous birds like eagles, falcons, hawks, and owls. Their nest can also fall victim to snakes and bigger birds.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources
  1. The Condor /Gary R. Graves, Available here: https://sora.unm.edu/sites/default/files/journals/condor/v092n02/p0522-p0524.pdf
  2. Red List / BirdLife International, Available here: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22699647/130205114

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