American Birding Podcast



#ABArare – Tufted Flycatcher – Texas

Two days ago (4/22) Phil Ziegler discovered and photographed an ABA Code 5 Tufted Flycatcher on Padre Island, Kleberg County, Texas. The news just got out today, 4/24. Pending acceptance, this is Texas’s 4th record and the 7th for the ABA Area.


This Tufted Flycatcher is the 7th for the ABA Area and the first in east Texas, photo by Phil Ziegler

The bird was first spotted at the Padre Island National Seashore headquarters, which is about 40 minutes south of Corpus Christi. After crossing the John F. Kennedy Memorial Causeway turn south (right) onto Park Road 22 (South Padre Island Drive). The bird was seen in the “Oak Tree Area” in front of the headquarters.

Note that the Headquarters is mostly closed to the public. You can park in front of the building and stand at the parking lot in front of the building. Please don’t walk around the back of the building. The parking is very limited.

As mentioned above, this is the 7th record of this species in the ABA Area. Since the first record in Big Bend National Park in November 1991, it has been seen 3 times in Arizona (Mojave 2005, Cochise 2008, Pinal 2011) and two additional times in Texas (Pecos 1993, Brewster 2010-11). All are winter/spring records save the 2011 bird in Pinal, Az, which was in July.

Howell, et al, note that the species is an elevational migrant in winter (especially Nov-Apr), at times descending to near sea level. Notably, the first US record coincided with a spell of atypically cold weather. Howell further speculates that spring records may reflect misoriented winter migrants heading north.


Howell, Steve N. G., Ian Lewington, and Will Russell. 2014. Rare Birds of North America: Princeton UP.