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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Great Crested Flycatcher -- Myiachus crinitus

RANGE: Breeds from east-central Alberta and central and southeastern Saskatchewan to south-western Quebec and central New Brunswick, south to central and southeastern Texas, the Gulf Coast, and Florida, and west to the eastern Dakotas, western Kansas, and west-central Oklahoma. Winters in central and southern Florida and from Mexico to South America.

STATUS: Common.

HABITAT: Prefers fairly extensive hardwood forests but is commonly found in old orchards and woodlots in farming country, clearings in mixed and deciduous forests, and wooded residential areas. Prefers forests with mature trees and fairly open canopies but will also use second-growth woodlands.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Cavities in middle-aged to mature trees, preferably in deciduous forests.

NEST: Nests in woodpecker holes or in natural cavities in live or dead trees, usually 10 to 20 feet, but sometimes from 3 to 75 feet, above the ground. May also use artificial structures such as bird houses and other hollows, with little preference shown for the shape of the opening or the cavity expanse.

FOOD: Forages in the forest canopy and gleans a variety of insects and spiders from crevices in the bark of trees; also eats some fruits.

REFERENCES: Beal 1912, DeGraff et al. 1980, Forbush and May 1955, Johnsgard 1979, Mousley 1934a.

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