Ornithological Note 144

Notes on the vocalizations of Bran-colored Flycatcher (Myiophobus fasciatus)

Peter F. D. Boesman April 21, 2016
Section(s): Voice, Systematics

In the following we briefly analyze and compare voice of the different races of Bran-colored Flycatcher (Myiophobus fasciatus). We also try to quantify the extent of any vocal differences using the criteria proposed by Tobias et al. (2010), as a support for taxonomic review. We have made use of sound recordings available on-line from Xeno Canto (XC).

There aren't that many recordings of dawn song available, and definitely not of all races. On the contrary, there are quite some recordings of day-time song available, a very typical and often heard long note followed by a trill. In the following I am analyzing only this day-time song.

There are clearly 3 vocal groups:

Group 1: M. f. fasciatus M. f. saturatus M. f. auriceps M. f. flammiceps (no recordings of M. f. furfurosus).

Length 1st note                   0.14-0.21s

min. note length                  0.05-0.07s

max. freq.                             3600-4700Hz

freq. range                           2000-2900Hz

max. pace                             0.058-0.088

# of notes                             7-18

min. freq.                              1500-1820Hz

Group 2: M. f. crypterythrus  (SW Colombia, W Ecuador and NW & N Peru)

Length 1st note                   0.21-0.25s

min. note length                  0.09-0.14s

max. freq.                             7300-10800Hz

freq. range                           4500-7900Hz

max. pace                             0.12-0.20

# of notes                             5-11

min. freq.                              2400-2800Hz

Group 3: M. f. rufescens (W Peru and extreme N Chile)

Day-time song seems to be usually a duet, one bird emitting a trill without initial long note, the second bird uttering squeaky notes.
Length 1st note                   0.05-0.06s ??

min. note length                  0.04-0.05s

max. freq.                             3050-4200Hz

freq. range                           1150-2400Hz

max. pace                             0.06-0.074

# of notes                             11-32

min. freq.                              1530-2200Hz


Day-time song of crypterythrus differs from all other races by having longer notes (score 2), reaching much higher frequencies (score 2-3) with a very large frequency range (score 2-3) and having a slower pace (score 2-3), which leads to a total vocal score of about 5 by applying Tobias criteria.

Compared to all other races, day-time song of rufescens is structurally quite different (and therefore difficult to score in direct comparison), with usually two birds in asynchronous duet (score 1-2), trill seemingly lacks an initial long note (score 1-2) and number of notes in trill on average higher (score 1-2). Total vocal score therefore at least 3.

Group 1 and 2 have a day-time song which is structurally very similar. Dawn song is structurally also similar, but again it would seem from available recordings that group 2 (crypterythrus) is higher-pitched, with notes typically above 3kHz, while in group 1 notes typically go down to minimum frequencies of c 2kHz.

This note was finalized on 2nd July 2015, using sound recordings available on-line at that moment. We would like to thank in particular the many sound recordists who placed their recordings for this species on XC.



Tobias, J.A., Seddon, N., Spottiswoode, C.N., Pilgrim, J.D., Fishpool, L.D.C. & Collar, N.J. (2010). Quantitative criteria for species delimitation. Ibis 152(4): 724–746.

More Information: on144_bran-colored_flycatcher.pdf 

Recommended Citation

Boesman, P. (2016). Notes on the vocalizations of Bran-colored Flycatcher (Myiophobus fasciatus). HBW Alive Ornithological Note 144. In: Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow-on.100144