Amazonian Royal Flycatcher
The Amazonian Royal Flycatcher is a passerine bird. Passerines are birds, whose toes are adapted to easily perch on branches and similar structures. The Amazonian Royal Flycatcher is found across most of the Amazon basin, although in scattered numbers.
Photo: Hector Bottai/Public Domain
The sheer number, types and colours of animals and plants seen in the Amazon basin is simply incredible. Each species found here is quite unique. The Amazonian Royal Flycatcher too doesn’t disappoint. This tiny bird, growing to all of 15-16 cm., is closely related to the Northern Royal Flycatcher, the Pacific Royal Flycatcher and the Atlantic Royal Flycatcher. It boasts of an impressive crest that it proudly displays on its head. Males have brilliant scarlet crests, while females have crests that are a stunning yellow with black or blue tips. It usually keeps its crest flat on the head and seems like an ordinary little brown bird. But when it does raise its hammer-shaped crest, what a sight it is! However, it is rare to see this spectacular sight as it seldom lifts its crest except during the breeding season.
The Amazonian Royal Flycatcher is found across almost the entire Amazon basin, in the warm and humid lowland forests and woodlands of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Eucador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezeula to name a few.
It is known to feed on insects, especially winged ones such as dragonflies, and is an expert hunter. It usually goes foraging within the lower layers of vegetation (mainly bushes and shrubs), where it stays low and quiet, perched on a branch, waiting for flying insects to pass by. It plays a very important role within the food web of the Amazon forest by keeping the insect population under control.
Unfortunately, today its forest home is under severe threat due to human encroachment and other activities. We cannot afford to lose this and other beautiful species that are so important in keeping the balance of our planet’s ecosystems.
First appeared in: Sanctuary Asia, Vol XXXV, No. 7, July 2015.