Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2013-65

Common name:

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Scientific name: Tyrannus Forficatus
Date: 8/12/13
Time: 8:30 AM
Length of time observed: 3 minutes
Number: 1
Age: 1st year
Sex: unsure
Location: The Nature Conservancy's Shorelands Preserve
County: Davis
Latilong: 41.064736,-112.100095
Elevation: 4,285 ft.
Distance to bird: 35-40 yards.
Optical equipment: Nikon Monarch Binoculars 10X42
Weather: Few clouds in the sky, sunny, warm.
Light Conditions: Sun was behind the bird. Decent lighting.
Description:        Size of bird: About the size of an Am. Robin or large Kingbird.
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Flycatcher look. Perched similar to Kingbird.
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Light gray head and mantle, dark wings, grayish belly and breast with faint yellowish orange coloring on the flanks.
(Description:)            Bill Type: Thin, flycatcher like bill.
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Light gray head contrasting with dark wings and tail. Absolutely NO yellow on breast like other juvenile Western Kingbirds in the area. Light orange/yellow coloring on the flanks. Short tail threw me off, but I did research on it and juvenile Scissor-tailed Flycatchers do show tails as short, or sometimes shorter than this bird had.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: Was silent. I saw this bird while conducting a survey at the preserve. I first noticed the Eastern Kingbirds sitting on the fence and then the Scissor-tailed farther down. The pale belly and head caught my eye and immediately made me thing Scissor-tailed Flycatcher over Western Kingbird. The short tail threw me off, but I have done research and juvenile S-T's can show this tail length. Observed for 3 minutes.
Behavior: The bird sat on the wire for the whole time we observed it. One of the Eastern Kingbirds flew up and I put it in the binoculars and watched it for about 10-15 seconds. When I took my bincoulars of the Kingbird the S-T had flown away. I had to continue the survey and didn't search for it further.
Habitat: Flycatcher was sitting on a fence wire with two Eastern Kingbirds near a small pond by open fields.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Western Kingbird: Short tail could be confused with Western Kingbird, but this bird showed no yellow like the other juvenile and adult Western Kingbirds in the area. Instead it had a faint yellowish/orange color on the flanks.

Eastern Kingbird: The bird did not show the distinctive black and white pattern that all plumages and ages of Eastern Kingbird show.

Say's Phoebe: Larger in size than a Phoebe, lighter gray coloring than the brownish of a Say's Phoebe.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I've seen many of these in Texas and I've grown up with both Western Kingbirds, Say's Phoebes, and Eastern Kingbirds living in Utah.
References consulted: Sibley Guide to Birds (latest edition)I used this in the field while watching the bird), Flickr photos, All about birds, and google images.
Description from: Notes made later
Observer: Kendall Watkins
Observer's address: 2622 Dry Creek Drive, Riverton, Utah
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird:  
Date prepared: 8/20/13
Additional material: Photos
Additional_Comments: Description from notes made later and from photos.