Galapagos Species Checklist

Pyrocephalus nanus Gould, 1838

Mosquero Bermellón de Galápagos, Pájaro Brujo de Galápagos, Galápagos Vermilion Flycatcher

Galápagos Vermilion Flycatcher. Photo: Michael Dvorak, CDF.
Galápagos Vermilion Flycatcher. Photo: Michael Dvorak, CDF.










Taxon category: Accepted

G. Jimenez-Uzcategui: "The taxonomy of this species has been very confusing: Ridgway (1896) mentions five “species” (considered even by most other authors of the time as subspecies): nanus, dubius, intercedens, carolensis, and abingdoni (the latter three of which he himself described). Two subspecies were recognized: P. r. nanus (Gould 1841), occurring on most islands, and P. r. dubius (Gould 1841), from San Cristóbal. Salvin (1876), but, suggested that specimens of P. r. dubius were instead juvenile males of P. r. nanus (Wiedenfeld 2006). However, the last study mitochondrial and nuclear genetic, data, morphology, and behavior suggest that Galápagos forms should be elevated to two full species: P. nanus Gould, 1838 (Galápagos Vermilion Flycatcher) and P. dubius Gould, 1839 (San Cristóbal Vermilion Flycatcher) (Carmi, etal. In press.)".

Taxon origin: Endemic


Near threatened


Preference for an altitude zone in Galapagos: Dry zone - high altitude dry zone

Habitat preferences: Bosques abiertos, bosques, zona de Scalesia, bosques nativos de Zanthoxylum, bosques de guayaba introducida.

Feeding type: Insectivorous

Seems exclusively insectivorous.

Feeding preferences: Sit and wait predator, which perches on exposed branches and flies for insects, flies and moths. But it may also hunt for arthropods, such as spiders and caterpillars, ranging from tiny aphids to 4cm large caterpillars.

Trophic role: Carnivorous

Reproduction mode: Exclusively sexual

Reproductive biology: A year-round a territorial species; the male does conspicuous song flights; its song is rather short and weak. Pairs stay together for at least one season. Breeding takes place during the warmer part of the year but has been observed breeding as early as October. Mostly the female builds a cup nest of moss, lichens, and fine fibers, feathers from other species, placed 2 to 10m high in a fork or on a horizontal branch. The female lays 2-3 eggs and incubates while the male helps in feeding her. Both sexes feed the chicks; fledglings stay with their parents approximately 4 weeks after leaving the nest.

Distribution classification: Eutropical


Distribution: Breeds on most main islands except San Cristóbal (other species: P. dubius Gould, 1839) , Santa Fe, Rábida, Wolf, Española, Darwin, Genovesa, Baltra, because there are few or no recent records.


  • Wiedenfeld, D.A. (2006) Aves, the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. Check List 2006 2(2): 1-27.
  • Harris, M.P. (1973) The Galápagos avifauna. Condor 75(3): 265-278.
  • Gifford, E.W. (1913) The birds of the Galápagos Islands, with observations on the birds of Cocos and Clipperton Islands (Columbiformes to Pelicaniformes). Expedition of the California Academy of Science, 1905 -1906. Part VIII. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, ser. 4, 2(1): 1-132.
  • Salvin, O. (1876) On the avifauna of the Galápagos Archipelago. Transactions of the Zoological Society of London 9: 447-510.
  • Sundevall, C.J. (1871) On birds from the Galápagos Islands. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1871: 124-129.
  • Smith, E.A. (1877) Mollusca. In: Günther, A.: Account of the zoological collections made during the visit of H.M.S. "Petrel" to the Galapagos Islands. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London (1877): 69-73, 91-93.
  • Swarth, H.S. (1931) The Avifauna of the Galapagos Islands. Occ. Pap. Calif. Acad. Sci. 18: 1-299.
  • De Benedictis, P. (1966) The flight song display of two taxa of Vermilion Flycatcher, genus Pyrocephalus. The Condor 68:306-307.
  • Carmi, O. Witt, C.C., Jaramillo, A., Dumbachera, J.P. (In press.) Phylogeography of the Vermilion Flycatcher species complex: Multiple speciation events, shifts in migratory behavior, and an apparent extinction of a Galápagos-endemic bird species. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 102:152-173.
  • Freire, J.F. Santander, T., Jiménez-Uzcátegui, G., Carrasco, L., Cisneros-Heredia, D., Guevara, E., Sánchez-Nivicela, M., Tinoco, B. (2019) Lista Roja de las aves del Ecuador Quito, Ecuador. 97 pp.

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