American Birding Podcast



#ABArare – Piratic Flycatcher – Texas

On September 22, Bill and Kathy Lupardus found an ABA Code 4 Piratic Flycatcher at South Llano River State Park in Kimble County, Texas.

South Llano State Park is located about 2 hours northwest of San Antonio, just south of I-10. The bird was located at the Acorn Bird Blind, and may till be in the area. Unfortunately the park is closed through Thursday for hunting.

Piratic Flycatcher is a resident in Mexico as far north as southern Veracruz state.  It is a widespread species, breeding as far south as northern Argentina. This species is easy to identify by voice, but is reported as being silent from extralimital records.

There are a handful of other Piratic Flycatcher records in the ABA Area since the first in Florida in 1991 (notably misidentified as Variegated Flycatcher initially), most come from Texas and New Mexico though one was in Kansas in 2015.

According to Howell et al in Rare Birds of North America, most vagrant Piratic Flycatchers seem to be overshoots from the middle American variegatus subspecies, but there is some speculation that some may represent the highly-migratory austral breeding subspecies, leucophaius, which averages smaller. Presumably this bird, turning up as it did so far away from previous Piratic Flycatcher records in the ABA Area, might be a a good candidate. Close attention to plumage wear and molt would solve that mystery.