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Scissor-tailed Flycatcher - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Damselfly
Texas, USA, May 2006
Tyrannus forficatus


Photo © by Stanley Jones
Bryan, Brazos County, Texas, USA, July 2015

Length 26cm (10¼ in) as juvenile, but reaches 38cm (1 ft 3in) as tail grows into adult status; tails of females ~ 30% shorter.

  • Pale grey
  • White face and breast
  • Black wings
  • Black and white tail
  • Scarlet crown patch
  • Salmon pink flush to flanks and belly, which can vary in brightness

Similar Species

Body is similar in size and morph to Western Kingbird, but the white head and especially very long black-and-white tail are distinctive.


In summer in USA and north-east Mexico, wintering from south-east Mexico to Panama. In the US, the state of Texas is the best place to see Tyrannus forficatus. Ranges extends over Oklahoma and Nebraska, and slightly into south-eastern New Mexico.


Photo © by Stanley Jones
Belton, Bell County, Texas, USA, 23 April 2022

This is a monotypic species[1].


Open areas with scattered brush and post oaks. Observed at heights around 101 m.


Forage close to ground; often seen on fence wires.


Their diet consists mostly of grasshoppers, crickets, beetles and bugs.


Photo © by Stanley Jones
Dana Peak Park, Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Harker Heights, Bell County, Texas, USA, May 2019

They have a zig-zag display flight.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2021. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2021. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved July 2015)
  3. Birdwatchers Digest
  4. Birdforum Member observations

Recommended Citation

External Links

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