Galapagos Species Checklist

Pyrocephalus rubinus nanus Gould, 1839

Pájaro Brujo, Vermilion Flycatcher

Threats Reasons for decline are probably the combination of habitat destruction, pesticide use and diseases. It is as well known to be affected by the parasitic fly Philornis downsi.











Taxon category: Species with Infraspecific Taxa

Syn.: Pyrocephalus nanus Gould, 1838 (GBIF Secretariat, 2021) ; 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 could be 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


IUCN Red List Category: Not evaluated


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

Habitat preferences: Open scrubland, woodland, Scalesia forests, and native Zanthoxylum forests, introduced guava forests.

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

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


Map of specimen collection localities or observation records for this species in our collections database.

Distribution: Breeds on most main islands except 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.
  • Jiménez-Uzcátegui, G. Milstead, B., Márquez, C., Zabala, J., Buitrón, P., Llerena, A., et al. (2007) Galapagos vertebrates: endangered status and conservation actions. Galapagos Report 2006–2007. Charles Darwin Foundation, Puerto Ayora, p. 104–110.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • IUCN (2015) The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. <>. Downloaded on 20 November 2015.
  • 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.
  • GBIF Secretariat (2021) GBIF Backbone Taxonomy. Https:// Accessed via

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