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The Derby Flycatcher (Pitangus Derbianus) a Permanent Resident Within Our Borders

Austin Paul Smith
Publication Information
3 (May-June)
From Field and Study

The Derby Flycatcher (Pitangus derbianus): A permanent Resident Within our Boundaries

Written of as "rather a rare summer visitor in the lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas" in Bailey’s Handbook of Birds of the Western United States, and call it a permanent resident, in moderate numbers.

On January 5, 1909, while hunting some four miles up the river from Brownsville, and having entered a dense growth composed largely of the so-called Ebony (Siderocarpos flexicaulis) my attention was directed to a water hole, of some forty feet diameter, by the calls of Green Jays (Xanthoura luxuosa glaucescens). Upon approaching, a great clatter commenced, which I attributed to the Jays. Perceiving a motion in the brush at the edge of the hole, and without any clear view of a bird, I fired. The victim was a Derby Flycatcher, and it had been co-participant with the Jays in the great uproar. Later I discerned the more usual notes of another Derby, in the same brush, but owing to the density of the particular portion of the scrub in which this individual held forth, pursuit was impracticable. The water hole, about which these flycatchers and various other birds gathered, was garnished with many insects, both dead and alive, which suggest its avian attractions.

Two more of this species were secured on February 10, in the same locality, and likewise in dense scrub, where I was attracted to them by their harsh and persistent notes. However, the Derby Flycatcher keeps so well within growth of this character, both here and in Mexico, that many examples of it might occur in a single locality, and yet comparatively few be noted.

Austin Paul Smith

Brownsville, Texas.

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