Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus)

COMMON NAME — Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
SCIENTIFIC NAME — Tyrannus forficatus
FAMILY — Tyrannidae
ORDER — Passeriformes


 

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. 30 Sep 2013.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. 30 Sep 2013.

A note about the scientific name for this bird…
Tyrannus — means tyrant-like. Birds of this genus aggressively defend their territory, even against larger birds like crows and hawks.
Forficatus — derives from the Latin word for scissors.


 

Sitting on a cable near the top of an  electric pole. 13 Apr 2013. Click to enlarge.

Sitting on a cable near the top of an electric pole. 13 Apr 2013. Click to enlarge.

I find this bird to be especially pretty because of the orange, my favorite color. A dark orange spot on the shoulder, light orange on the side. It contrasts nicely with the soft gray head and dark wings.


 

Perched on  a Honey Mesquite tree. 13 Apr 2013. Click to slightly enlarge.

Perched on a Honey Mesquite tree. 13 Apr 2013. Click to slightly enlarge.

Back view displaying the entire length of the very long tail.


 

Perched on a very high electric wire. 30 Sep 2013. Click to enlarge.

Perched on a very high electric wire. 30 Sep 2013. Click to enlarge.

What an adorable bird! This was taken at dawn. They usually gather on these high electric lines at dawn and dusk, where they become especially active, with much bubbly chirping.


 

Very active one spring afternoon. 16 Apr 2012. Click  to enlarge.

Very active one spring afternoon. 16 Apr 2012. Click to enlarge.

When I see them perched high, I notice they don’t sit still much. There is much of this activity happening.


 

At dusk, taking a dive to catch a fly. 22 Sep 2013. Click to enlarge.

At dusk, taking a dive to catch a fly. 22 Sep 2013. Click to enlarge.

During the hunt, you might see a bit of this kind of action. Although the photo was taken in poor light, you can actually see the insect near the tip of the bird’s beak, about to snatched. The shape of this bird’s tail allows them to engage in some impressive acrobatics.


 

Savoring its freshly caught prey. 1 Apr 2012.

Savoring its freshly caught prey. 1 Apr 2012.

Looking closely you can see the bug in this bird’s mouth.


 

Rear view, open tail position. 30 Sep 2013. Click  to enlarge.

Rear view, open tail position. 30 Sep 2013. Click to enlarge.

An opportunity to see the black  wing spread and the exposure of the orange back, along with the black and white tail feathers.


 

The front spread. 30 Sep 2013. Click to enlarge.

The front spread. 30 Sep 2013. Click to enlarge.

Although I’m not fond of posting blurry photos, this shot exposes the coloring underneath the wings. The dark orange spot near the shoulder and the light orange across the wing and down the flank.


 Identification Sources:

Book – Birds of Texas by Stan Tekiela
Website – allaboutbirds.org


A few details from Wikipedia’s Scissor-tailed Flycatcher page:

Range – This species breeds and spends its summers in the south central states, including all of Texas and Oklahoma, most of Kansas, and part of their adjoining states: Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana. They winter mostly in Central America.

Habitat – They build a cup nest in isolated trees or shrubs, sometimes using artificial sites such as telephone poles near towns.

Diet – They eat insects during the summer and incorporate some fruit into their diet during winter.


 Related Links on this site:

All Bird posts
Birds Index page


 

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