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Boat-billed Flycatcher - BirdForum Opus

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Photo © by Vernon Lundy
Chapada dos Guimares National Park, Mato Grosso, Brazil, July 2005
Megarynchus pitangua


Photo © by Steve G
Asa Wright Nature Centre, Trinidad, May 2006

23 cm - 9"
Superficially very similar to the Great Kiskadee in size and colouration but with a totally different call. This species has less rufous on the wings and tail as well as a less prominent crownstripe. None of these characteristics stand out in the field, and the best diagnostic feature is the large wide bulky bill with a prominent convex culmen.


Mexico through Central America and South America to Argentina, Paraguay, and Bolivia.


This is a polytypic species[1] consisting of 6 subspecies.


  • M. p. tardiusculus:
  • Foothills of north-western Mexico (southern Sinaloa to Nayarit)
  • M. p. caniceps:
  • South-western Mexico (southern Jalisco)
  • M. p. mexicanus:
  • M. p. deserticola:
  • M. p. pitangua:
  • M. p. chrysogaster:
  • Pacific slope of western Ecuador and north-western Peru (Tumbes and northern Piura)


Variable from mostly open areas to forest edge.



Boat-bills hunt large insects -- especially Cicadas, small vertebrates, spiders and fruits.


Boat-billed Flycatcher with Channel-billed Toucans

Recording by Andrew Whitehouse, Regua, Brazil, September 2008


  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. SACC baseline
  3. Birds of Venezuela 2nd Edition. Steven Hilty. Princeton University Press 2003
  4. Birds of Northern South America.Robin Restall, Clemencia Rodner, Miguel Lentino.Yale University Press 2007.

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