Crowned Slaty Flycatcher: another new bird for Bonaire and for the Kingdom of the Netherlands

In BioNews 11 (2017) an article was dedicated to the eight bird species that in 2016 and 2017 were added to the Bonaire-bird list. One of these, Pied Water-tyrant, was even new for the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Less than one kilometer from the location where that bird was recorded for the first time in January 2016, Peter-Paul Schets found another tyrant-flycatcher which was never recorded before on Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. 

In the early morning of 3 September 2018 Schets visited Bonaire’s LVV-grounds and sewage plant. At around 7 AM he noticed a mainly greyish flycatcher that reminded him of a phoebe or a pewee. The birds made short sallies to catch insects and repeatedly returned to the same or a nearby bare branch. Schets realized this bird was not in the Sibley guide (birds of North America) or in the field guides for the ABC-islands. He took many pictures that he sent to several birders in the Netherlands. It did not take long before Bert Pieterson answered this bird mostly resembled a Crowned Slaty Flycatcher (Griseotyrannus aurantioatrocristatus), a species of South America. An unexpected finding because of the southern distribution of that species, but comparison of photos of that species led Schets to the conviction that this was indeed the bird he had seen. Shortly afterwards its identification was confirmed by several experienced birders.

Finding this species on Bonaire is exceptional as its regular range is much more to the south. It mainly breeds in central and in the southern half of South America and migrates in austral winter rarely further north than Orinoco River. There are very few records outside South America. In 2007 it was recorded in Panama and in 2008 in Lousiana, USA. 

This record once again shows birding on Bonaire can we very rewarding. Finding another new species for this island probably is just a matter of time.

This news-item was published in BioNews-19.

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