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Rufous Flycatcher Myiarchus semirufus
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This species has declined in range and numbers and now has a small global population restricted to a very small known range at six fragmented locations (Joseph 2004). As a result it is considered Endangered, but further survey effort may reveal that it occurs across a wider area of suitable habitat. If this is the case it may warrant downlisting in the future.

Taxonomic source(s)
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #

17-19 cm. A distinctive species with the plumage predominantly three shades of rufous brown with no grey or yellow as in other Myiarchus flycatchers. Head and upperparts brown, uppertail coverts rufous, throat and underparts a near uniform light cinnamon-rufous. Wings and tail predominantly rufous. Iris, bill and legs are dark. Sexes alike and juveniles resemble adults. Voice Dawn song consists of alternated 'huit' notes and raspng whistles. Also gives repeated rasping hiccup notes in song and in response to intruders. A descending 'huit' note is given as a contact call while foraging.

Distribution and population
Myiarchus semirufus is endemic to the Tumbesian lowlands of Peru where the area of suitable habitat around all known localities totals c.2,100 km2. Formerly the species occurred further south along the strip of lowlands between the coast and the Andes, to the Ria Pativilca c.200 km north of Lima. The species's range seems to have contracted northwards, with no records from Lima Department for many years, and it has not been recorded around Trujillo in La Libertdad Department since the 1960s (R. Ridgely and F. Angulo Pratolongo in litt. 2007), despite field work around Paijan, La Libertad in 2011 (C. Devenish in litt. 2012). However, the species was recorded at Nepeña and Pañamarca north of Casma, Ancash Department, in 2004 which is the only record away from a more northerly centred distribution (G. Engblom in litt. 2007). All other recent records are derived from a handful of locations: Olmos, Mocupe, Rafan, the Rio Zaña, Apurlec, Chaparri and Bosque de Pomac near Chiclayo, Lambayeque Department; Sechura, Chulucanas, Talara, El Angolo and the Bayovar /Illescas Peninsula, Piura Department (R. Ridgely and F. Angulo Pratolongo in litt. 2007, P. Hosner in litt. 2007, T. Mischler in litt. 2007, R. Williams in litt. 2007, S. Mahood in litt. 2007, D. G. Olaechea in litt. 2007, I. Franke in litt. 2007). This species has certainly declined and experienced a significant range contraction. It now appears to be genuinely patchy in its distribution, but there is almost certainly a bias in observer effort, with most birdwatchers visiting the same sites, and more widespread effort in the comparatively large areas of potentially suitable habitat north and south of the known localities may reveal that the species remains more widespread and common than current evidence suggests.

Population justification
The species's density in suitable habitat has been crudely estimated at 1 individual per km2 in suitable habitat (F. Angulo Pratolongo in litt. 2007). The area of suitable habitat around known sites is c. 2,800 km2 but may be much larger. Hence, the population is estiamted to fall within the band 2,500-9,999 individuals. This equates to 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The range has contracted in the past and unquantified population declines are suspected to have occurred, owing to habitat loss and degradation.

This species favours thorny desert, xerophytic steppes and mesquite savannas; open thorn-woodland dominated by mesquite (Prosopsis) and acacia (Acacia) where trees are widely separated by sparse ground cover of grasses and herbs. It will occur in agriculture reserves and other modified/planted habitats such as hedgerows and patches between fields (C. Devenish in litt. 2012), and is occasionally found in isolated Prosopsis groves (where it was formerly more common [R. Ridgely and F. Angulo Pratolongo in litt. 2007]) in otherwise barren desert. Nesting has been recorded in December-May, but northern populations may breed later than southern ones. Artificial nest-boxes for swallows have been used in Bosque de Pomac (F. Angulo in litt. 2012). It has apparently been recorded up to 500 m but is typically below 350 m.

Human population density has increased considerably in the past three decades. There has been an expansion of large plantations, particularly of sugar cane, within its range and in some cases suitable habitat has been destroyed (C. Devenish in litt. 2012). Goat density has increased concomitantly and grazing pressure threatens dry scrub and wooded habitats. Daily collection of firewood by the many households in the region, cutting both live trees and dead, is causing a gradual reduction in the extent and density of scrub and woodland (R. Ridgely and F. Angulo Pratolongo in litt. 2007). At Chaparri community residents are specifically prohibited from cutting live wood, which is placing additional pressure on the continuing existence of dead limbs and snags; nesting in cavities and recesses, Rufous Flycatchers may well thereby be being put under additional pressure through the loss of nest sites (R. Ridgely and F. Angulo Pratolongo in litt. 2007). Bee-keeping for honey production has been encouraged for the last several decades through various aid programmes. The larger tyrant flycatchers of the region have reportedly become habitual predators of the bees around the hives, and local people apparently try to kill then (with slingshots) at any opportunity. All such larger flycatchers have declined markedly in most areas including especially the Rufous Flycatcher (R. Ridgely and F. Angulo Pratolongo in litt. 2007).

Conservation Actions Underway
It is protected in the Santuario Histórico Bosque de Pomac (R. Ridgely and F. Angulo Pratolongo in litt. 2007) and Coto de Caza El Angolo (F. Angulo Pratolongo in litt. 2012). Surveys across theo species' range are being undertaken in 2011 and 2012, including habitat and threat analysis. A Zona Reservada (possible future national protected area) has been declared at the Illescas Peninsula, where the species is present (C. Devenish in litt. 2012).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey more widely within the species historical range to determine current distribution and reassess its threat status. Advocate that areas of Prosopsis and Acacia woodland are protected and grazing by goats and fuelwood collection be prohibited. Raise awareness over the species's status and encourage bee-keepers not to kill flycatchers.
Research its natural history (F. Angulo Pratolongo in litt. 2012).

Joseph, L. 2004. Rufous Flycatcher. Family Tyrannidae (Tyrant-Flycatchers). In: del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Christie, D. A. (ed.), Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 9. Cotingas to Pipits and Wagtails, pp. 431. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Bird, J., Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Sharpe, C J

Angulo Pratolongo, F., Franke, I., Hosner, P., Lloyd, H., Mahood, S., Mischler, T., More, A., Olaechea, D., Ridgely, R., Williams, R.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Myiarchus semirufus. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Rufous flycatcher (Myiarchus semirufus) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Tyrannidae (Tyrant-flycatchers)
Species name author Sclater & Salvin, 1878
Population size 1500-7000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 2,800 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species