Family Tityras and allies (Tityridae)

Least Concern

Northern Royal Flycatcher (Onychorhynchus mexicanus)


French: Porte-éventail du Mexique German: Fleckenbrust-Kronenbekarde Spanish: Mosquero real norteño

Muscivora mexicana

P. L. Sclater

, 1857,

Córdoba, Veracruz, Mexico


Usually treated as conspecific with O. occidentalis, O. coronatus and O. swainsoni. Differs from occidentalis and swainsoni in characters given under those species. Differs from coronatus in its larger size (effect size for male wing 4.51, score 2); olive-brown vs dark olive-brown head sides, neck sides, mantle and back (2); less densely barred or spotted breast (ns[1]); strong white vs buffy-tan chin and throat (2); paler, more rufous vs darker, more chestnut tail (2); but no obvious differences in call. Birds intermediate between mexicanus and fraterculus occur in Costa Rica and Panama. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • O. m. mexicanus (P. L. Sclater, 1857) – S & E Mexico (S Veracruz, N & SE Oaxaca) S to Panama.
  • O. m. fraterculus Bangs, 1902 – N Colombia (S to N Antioquia and N Santander) and NW Venezuela (W Zulia to Barinas).
  • Descriptive notes

    16·5–18 cm; 17–20·6 g. See Taxonomy for comments on differences from other species within the royal flycatcher complex; large crest, usually held flat, protrudes from rear of... read more


    Apparently indistinguishable from that of congenerics. Call is a squeaky to hollow, plaintive “... read more


    Inhabits well-shaded understorey to subcanopy of evergreen forest (and deciduous forest, woodland,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Arthropods, but few details. Insects may be caught on the wing, or taken during mid-range aerial sallies (without hovering) to both... read more


    Season Mar–Jul in Mexico; Apr–Jul in Guatemala (Tikal, based on gonadal condition); copulation observed in May in Costa Rica; nest in Feb–... read more


    Resident and sedentary, with records in Panama of same individuals being recaptured within same... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Nominate race fairly common to uncommon in Mexico, but possibly extirpated from El Salvador owing to habitat loss; in Costa Rica,... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Northern Royal Flycatcher (Onychorhynchus mexicanus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 23 July 2019).