The flycatcher family is perhaps not the most well-known – or well-liked family of birds; this could be due to a variety of reasons. For starters, they don’t usually sport the vivid colours that are usually associated with birds of the tropics. They’re usually various shades of olive green, brown and everything in-between. This lends to their low detection rate among birdwatchers. You may be hearing them calling, but you must find something that looks pretty much just like a leaf.
And once you do lay eyes upon them, beware. Flycatchers – particularly those belonging to the dreaded Myiarchus genus – are notoriously difficult to identify. I’ve seen and photographed this bird that has up to now never been conclusively identified.
Some of them tend to be a little easier though. A combination of physical features, voice and location should leave the viewer with enough information to check a box. The characteristic hump on the crown of this bird, coupled with its diagnostic “weee” call led me to record the relatively common (in Trinidad) Tropical Pewee on my list.
Across on Tobago, one of the more common flycatchers present in forested areas is the undeniably adorable Fuscous Flycatcher. It’s often referred to as the “Prozac Flycatcher” by some intrepid friends of mine – as it tends to look a little despondent at times.
Definitely not as common as either of the previous two birds here, the Venezuelan Flycatcher is usually restricted to the rainforests of Main Ridge Forest Reserve. It too, has a distinctive call – which can drive birdwatchers (more) crazy – heads going each and every direction scouring each branch for the source of the call. Once found, quick checks must be made to ensure that it isn’t the more commonplace Brown-crested Flycatcher. All-dark bill (two-toned on the BCFC), grey crest (brown on the BCFC) as well as no rufous on the tail (present on the BCFC) confirm its ID as a Venezuelan Flycatcher.
I got lucky with this one at eye level, however no matter how much I tried, it just ignored the hell out of me.