tyrant flycatchers

January 19, 2017 - Austral Negrito, Patagonian Negrito, Rufous-backed Negrito, or Southern Rufous-backed Negrito (Lessonia rufa)

These tyrant flycatchers are found in southern South America, breeding in Chile and Argentina and migrating north for the winter. They eat a variety of small insects, including mites, springtails, and flies, running along the ground and occasionally capturing prey in short bursts of flight. Females lay their eggs in nests built from twigs and roots on the ground or on cliff ledges. Males leave for migration earlier than females, which migrate with their chicks.


Gray Kingbird or Pitirre and Chinese Hibiscus, China Rose, Hawaiian Hibiscus, or Shoe Flower?
Tyrannus dominicensis / Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

Annandale Falls, Grenada, 2014


Short-tailed Pygmy Tyrant | Source

Cliff Flycatcher (Hirudinea ferruginea)

…a species of Tyrant Flycatcher (Tyrannidae)  that is the sole member of the monotypic genus Hirudinea, however the swallow flycatcher (H. f. bellicosa) is sometimes given fully species status. Cliff flycatchers are generally only seen east of the Andes mountain range, where it ranges down to central Argentina west of the Pampas, and east of the Pampas to southern Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay; Also southeast of the Amazon Basin in the Brazilian Highlands, to the Atlantic and south Atlantic coast of Brazil. Cliff flycatchers typically inhabit subtropical or tropical dry/moist lowland forests and sub/tropical moist montane forests. Like most flycatchers they feed mainly on insects which are caught by “hawking”. 


Animalia-Chordata-Aves-Passeriformes-Tyrannidae-Hirudinea-H. ferruginea

Image: Dario Sanches

Ochre-faced Tody-Flycatcher, Poecilotriccus plumbeiceps

Today in tiny and unbelievably-cute birds, we have one of the tody-tyrant/tody-flycatcher complex: teensy, colorful flycatchers with heads and bills that are too large for their miniscule bodies.

These birds aren’t to be confused with the true todies (Family Todidae), which are Coraciiforme birds that live in Central America and are decidedly more colorful than any of the Tyrannid “todies”.

Satin Flycatcher (Myiagra cyanoleuca)

…a species of Monarch Flycatcher (Monarchidae) that occurs in Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand, and parts of Papua New Guinea. Satin flycatchers typically inhabit temperate forests and subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, where like the unrelated tyrant flycatchers (Tyrannidae) they will feed mainly on insects and other invertebrates which are caught by “hawking”. 


Animalia-Chordata-Aves-Passeriformes-Monarchidae-Myiagra-M. cyanoleuca

Image: Aviceda


Common Tody-Flycatcher (Todirostrum cinereum)

Also known as the Black-fronted Tody-flycatcher, the common tody-flycatcher is a small species of tyrant flycatcher (Tyrannidae) that ranges from southern Mexico to northwestern Peru, eastern Bolivia and southern Brazil. Common tody-flycatchers typically inhabit forests, woodlands, gardens, plantations and arid areas and will feed on small arthropods by quickly picking them off vegetation. 



Images: Joseph C Boone and Dario Sanches

September 1, 2016 - White Monjita (Xolmis irupero)

Found in savannas and grasslands of eastern South America, including Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and southern Brazil, these tyrant flycatchers also have an isolated population in eastern Brazil. Usually foraging from a prominent perch, they may hover over their insect prey before dropping onto it. During their breeding season, between September and December, they build large cup-shaped nests from twigs, grasses, and other materials.


White-headed Marsh Tyrant (Arundinicola leucocephala)

…a small species of tyrant flycatcher (Tyrannidae) that is the sole member of the genus Arundinicola. White-headed marsh tyrants breed in tropical South America, ranging from Colombia, Venezuela and Trinidad south to Bolivia, Argentina and Paraguay. True to their common names white-headed marsh tyrants typically inhabit marshy savannas, reedbeds, and the edges of mangrove swamps. Like other flycatchers they feed almost exclusively on insects which are caught in typical flycatcher fashion


Animalia-Chordata-Aves-Passeriformes-Tyrannidae-Arundinicola-A. leucocephala

Image(s): Dario Sanches

March 9, 2016 - Crested Black Tyrant (Knipolegus lophotes)

These tyrant flycatchers are found in a large range through parts of Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Living in open savanna, scrubland, and pasture land, they are usually found in pairs. They feed on insects, catching them in the air, and sometimes also eat small fruits. Their cup-shaped nests are constructed from fibrous plants. Unlike in most other species of their genus, males and females look similar.

Masked Water Tyrant (Fluvicola nengeta)

….a species of tyrant flycatcher (Tyrannidae) that is native to South America, with major populations occurring in eastern and southeastern Brazil, and on the Pacific side of South America from western Ecuador to northwestern Peru. Masked water tyrants typically inhabit subtropical and tropical mangrove forests, tropical moist shrubland, and heavily degraded former forests. Like other tyrant flycatchers F. nengeta feeds mainly on insects and will forage in waterside vegetation.


Animalia-Chordata-Aves-Passeriformes-Tyrannidae-Fluvicola-F. nengeta

Image: Daniel Cardoso

May 24, 2016 - Streamer-tailed Tyrant (Gubernetes yetapa)

These flycatchers are found in parts of Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. They eat arthropods, flying low over the ground in marshy areas to capture their prey. Pairs perform courtship displays together, lowering their heads and fanning their tails, then raising their heads, lowering their tails, and spreading their wings, while calling to each other.

Many-colored Rush Tyrant (Tachuris rubrigastra)

…a species of colorful Tyrant Flycatcher (Tyrannidae) which is native to South America. Many-colored rush tyrants will typically inhabit marshland and reedbeds around lakes and rivers. They are typically associated with Scirpus spp. Like other members of the family Tyrannidae many-colored rush tyrants feed almost exclusively on flying insects which are caught by hawking. 


Animalia-Chordata-Aves-Passeriformes-Tyrannidae-Tachuris-T. rubrigastra

Image: Diucón


the more ornithologically-minded among you may want to point out that there is a discrepancy in the post for saurophaganax.

it mentions that the dinosaur in question lost the right to its original name, saurophagus, when it was discovered that saurophagus was already in use by a genus of bird. that genus of bird, a type of tyrant flycatcher, is no longer called saurophagus, but rather has been reclassified as pitangus and is more commonly referred to as the “great kiskadee.” it is mostly found in central and south america.

the end of the initial saurophaganax post includes a link to a picture of a bird that is not the original saurophagus, but is rather todirhamphous saurophagus, a different lizard-eating bird more commonly referred to as a beach kingfisher. (note saurophagus is the species name, not the genus.) it is mostly found in southeast asia and indonesia.

they both popped up on google, and, understanding the difference between these birds, i intentionally chose todirhamphous saurophagus because it was funnier to look at. because this is a humor blog. and if any of us learn something, it’s purely by accident.

stay sad. especially you frustrated ornithologists.

December 5, 2014 - Strange-tailed Tyrant (Alectrurus risora)

These tyrant-flycatchers are found in southern Paraguay and northern Argentina. Their range previously extended farther into several other South American countries, such as Brazil and Uruguay, but it has contracted dramatically and they are now rare in these areas. Social birds, they are often seen in groups of around 20. They eat insects, sometimes following animals such as armadillos to forage. They are classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN, mostly due to habitat loss.