Myiarchus Crinitus – Great Crested Flycatcher

Myiarchus Crinitus - Great Crested Flycatcher found in the US

The great crested flycatcher, Myiarchus crinitus is a big insectivorous bird belonging to the family of tyrant flycatchers. It is the most widespread species of the genus Myiarchus in North America, occupying the majority of the continent’s eastern and midwestern regions. It is usually found in the trees and is very rarely seen on the ground.

Quick Overview: Myiarchus Crinitus – Great Crested Flycatcher
Body size: Around 8.5 in (22 cm) and a weight of 34 g (1.2 oz).
Main colors: Gray, Black, Yellow, Olive, White, Brown
Range: Eastern United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: March, April, May, September, October, November
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Great crested Flycatcher Description

Great crested Flycatcher is a big flycatcher with colors that are comparable to those of other members of the genus but are brighter. The broad, rounded dark gray head is slightly domed or crested at the top. This species has a large, thick beak that is predominantly black with a broad, pale base. On the head, the gray coloringT is darkest at the crown and gradually lightens and extends into the throat and breast, where it contrasts with the bright yellow belly and bottom. The back is a dark olive color that transitions into dark flight feathers with white edges. The secondary feathers, like the tail feathers, are a vivid rufous color. Legs and feet range in color from dark brown to black. This species exhibits no sexual dimorphism.

Myiarchus Crinitus - Great Crested Flycatcher found in the US
Myiarchus Crinitus – Great Crested Flycatcher. Photo by: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region


These birds have a length of 8.5 in (22 cm) and a weight of 34 g (1.2 oz). Their wings could range from 12-14 in (30-36 cm).


Great crested Flycatcher is mostly an insectivorous species but will consume fruits on occasion, particularly during the non-breeding season. This species primarily uses hover-gleaning techniques to steal prey from the foliage’s surface. It frequently forages from a perch high in the green tree canopy, significantly higher than many of its insectivorous neighbors. Butterflies and moths, beetles, grasshoppers and crickets, bees and wasps, flies, and spiders are all common prey items.


Great crested Flycatcher is a forest dweller with a preference for deciduous or mixed-deciduous forests. This species is found in semi-open canopy or forest edge settings. Additionally, urban settings with a dense canopy of trees provide a habitat for this species. Myiarchus crinitus is an obligate secondary cavity breeder that will seek out woods with snags and pre-made cavities during the breeding season.


The great crested Flycatcher is a Neotropical migratory species that travel biannually between North America and Central or South America. As is the case with many birds, they are most active at dawn and dusk and are diurnal, save for nighttime migration. They are swift flyers, catching the majority of their insect prey in flight. They spend most of their time flying or perching near the tops of big canopy trees and are rarely observed on the ground. Myiarchus crinitus is extremely territorial during the breeding season, and both sexes will aggressively pursue or attack intruders of the same or another species.

Myiarchus Crinitus Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Tyrannidae
  • Genus: Myiarchus
  • Species: Myiarchus crinitus

Best time of the year to see

 In the United States, the best time of year to see these birds are during the Spring season (March-May) and during the Autumn season (September – November).

Distribution of the Great crested Flycatcher in the USA

Myiarchus crinitus, commonly referred to as great crested flycatchers, is found in the Nearctic and Neotropical regions of North, Central, and South America. This migratory flycatcher breeds in the eastern half of the United States and on the Canadian border. Great crested flycatcher can be found in southern Central America and northeastern South America during the non-breeding season. Some great crested flycatcher may spend the entire year in the southern tip of Florida and Cuba.

The Great crested Flycatcher can be found in the following states in the United States – Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Myiarchus Crinitus – Great Crested Flycatcher

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