The Social Flycatcher, Myiozetetes similis, is a medium-sized tropical species of bird native to Belize, Bolivia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. This species of bird is a vagrant species of the United States. In some places it is only found at specific altitudes, for example, Ecuador (below1,400 meters), Colombia (below 900 meters) and Venezuela (1,500m north of Orinoco, and 500m south of Orinoco) (Phelan). M. similis lives in streams and forest edges. However, they are not found in deep forests because of their preference for shrubby areas. They tend to live in cultivated areas as well, and have adapted to suburban settings (Cracraft, 1967; Phelan).
M. similis are typically 16.5 – 17 centimeters long (Phelan). They have an olive-green-colored upperbody and tail, and wings that are dark brown and lined with a pale gray color. Its belly is bright yellow, and it has a white throat. The head is black with a white stripe above its eye. It has a short, decurved beak. Juveniles have a grayish brown upperbody, and a small crown, or no crown at all (Ekstrom & Butchart). They feed on fruit, arthropods, insects, tadpoles, small berries, and other localized food sources (Phelan; Cracraft, 1967; Sherry, 1985). M. similis take high perch in the trees, and tend to catch their prey above their perch (Cracraft, 1967; Bencke, 2010). Their high perch allows them a wide field of view of flying prey, but they also forage food off of the ground. They prefer short flights for foraging, however, some flights of 40 to 50 feet are observed (Cracraft, 1967). Their ground foraging is done in small hops, described as the “sally strike” and “sally glide”. Foraging is done in pairs and individually.
M. similis tend to live in small social groups during the breeding season, and sometimes live in large interspecific groups (Phelan). M. similis are very active, physically and vocally, described as having a “constant chatter” (Cracraft, 1967; Bencke, 2010). They are erratic and exhibit fast fluttering wings that make them appear to be nervous or frightened (Cracraft, 1967). Their calls are loud screams and rapid twittering of one to two sharp notes before a trill described as “tseep, brit-buweeerr” or a piercing “chi-wiww”. Their harsh calls are described as, “kreeoouw” with chattered “ti-ti-ti-tichew” (Ekstrom & Butchart). Their audible wing movements work with their calls in attracting mates. Once a mate pair has been established, males and females fly together to construct their nests, with both of them carrying supplies and assembling the nest as a pair (Cracraft, 1967). They construct their nest out of soft materials, like dried grass, straw, twigs, cotton, and pieces of plastic in obvious, non-secluded places like over water and man-made objects (Pettingill, 1942; Phelan). The entrance to the nest is always on the side (Pettingill, 1942). Egg-laying takes place from March through April. The eggs are a creamy or pink color. Pairs raise two to four eggs in one brood, and only one brood per year. However, pairs may lay up to five nests in order to encounter for lost offspring from predation the Keel-billed toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus), Gray hawk (Buteo nitidus), and Basilisk lizard (Basiliscus basiliscus) (Phelan). However, despite their predators, M. similis are a stable population and are of least concern by IUCN.
: Lauren Rost