Thursday, 20 January 2011

Scissor-tailed flycatcher

Tyranus forficatus

(Photo from Flickr)

Common name:

Order Passeriformes
Family Tyrannidae

These birds breed in the south of the United States in Colorado, New Mexico, Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas, and in northern Mexico. They winter in Central America, from southern Mexico down to Costa Rica

The scissor-tailed flycatcher shows strong sexual dimorphism in terms of tail length. Because of this females are 25-26 cm long while males are 38-39 cm long. They have a wingspan of 38 cm and weigh 36-56 g.

They mostly breed in open grasslands with occasional trees and scrubs, but also in towns and agricultural areas. During the winter they are typically found either in open grasslands or along the edges of tropical forests.

They are insectivorous, mostly taking grasshoppers, crickets and beetles. they may occasionally take berries in winter.

Scissor-tailed flycatchers breed in March-August. The nest is an open cup of plant stems and string, lined with finer plant materials, generally placed in small isolated trees or large shrubs. The female lays 3-6 creamy eggs with brown spots, which she incubates alone for 13-16 days. the chicks are fed by both parents until fledging, which takes place 14-17 days after hatching.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
The population increased its range in the 19th and 20th century probably as the result of clearing forests and the planting of ornamental trees. It is now believed to be declining in parts of its very large range, but the population is still estimated at 7,9 million. The species is not threatened at present.

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