Distribution / Range
It occurs only in the mountains of Costa Rica and western Panama, usually from 1,850 m altitude to the timberline. Long-tailed Silky-flycatchers often perch prominently on highly exposed twigs.
The male Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher is 24 cm long and has a pale grey forehead. It is a thrush-sized species weighing about 37 g. The rest of the crested head, neck, throat, and lower belly are yellow. The back, lower breast, and upper belly are blue-grey, and the flight feathers and long pointed tail are black. The outer tail feathers are spotted with white.
The female is 21 cm long and generally duller than the male, with a darker grey forehead, olive body plumage, and a shorter, duller black tail. Immatures are similar to the adults, but the central tail feathers are shorter and the white spotting on the outer tail is indistinct.
This species forages in small flocks when not breeding, flycatching for insects, or taking small fruits, especially mistletoe.
Berries, any small insects, fruits, and vegetables.
Phainopepla have a specialized mechanism in their gizzard that shucks berry skins off the fruit and packs the skins separately from the rest of the fruit into the intestines for more efficient digestion. So far this is the only known bird able to do this.
The habitat of this bird is mountain forests, where the breeding pair builds a neat cup of lichen 2-18 m high in a tree, sometimes in loose colonies. It nests in the spring.
The female lays two brown and lilac-blotched grey eggs, and the incubation, done by both the male and female, takes fifteen days.
The young fledge 18-25 days after hatching, and are fed by both parents.
Calls / Vocalizations
The call of the Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher is a repeated chee-chip.
- This species is a host to the biting louse Brueelia ptiliogonis.
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