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Rare bird, far from home, is cousin to the kiskadee

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The Ash-Throated Flycatcher (Photograph by Miguel Mejías)

Hot on the heels of an unusual avian visitor from the North American west coast, another rare winter bird has been spotted on the island.

The fifth recorded sighting of the ash-throated flycatcher follows the Say's phoebe, sighted last month among a plethora of migratory guests, some of which were carried to the island by storms.

Both birds hail from the far side of the continent, making a treat for the Bermuda Audubon Society — and birder Miguel Mejías, who photographed the phoebe in its first sighting here since 1994.

Dr Mejías reported that the vagrant Myiarchus cinerascens had been “giving me the slip for days, potentially weeks, assuming it’s the same bird, but I finally caught up to it”.

He said the birds were native to the US southwest and north central Mexico, and typically spent their winters in Mexico and Central America.

The species is “a distant cousin to the Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus), both being tyrant flycatchers”.

It was first confirmed in Bermuda in 1991 by the late conservationist and birdwatcher Eric Amos, with a second sighting five years later at Outer Lea Farm on Middle Road in Smith’s.

For Dr Mejías, the sighting was a chance to beat his challenge of racking up 200 bird species sighted on the island for 2023.

The Ash-Throated Flycatcher (Photograph by Miguel Mejías)

As of this month, he hit 206 sightings, six birds above his original goal.

“It’s crazy to think I've got another four weeks to add to this count,” he said.

“I'm so excited to see what December holds.”

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Published November 30, 2023 at 7:58 am (Updated November 30, 2023 at 8:35 am)

Rare bird, far from home, is cousin to the kiskadee

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