Oklahoma State Bird
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (common name)
Tyrannus forficatus (scientific name)
The scissor-tailed flycatcher is descriptively named. During flight, which can be quite acrobatic in hunting and in courtship, the bird spreads two exceptionally long tail feathers like a pair of scissors. The scissor-tail, officially adopted in 1951 as Oklahoma's state bird, is a common sight on fences, tree branches, and telephone wires in rural farm country throughout the south-central United States. The male bird's back and neck are whitish-gray, its breast is white, and its wings are black with a red patch on the shoulders. Females have a shorter tail and are more brownish-yellow in color. Flycatchers consume crickets, spiders, and grasshoppers. Nesting usually takes place in an isolated tree 7-30 feet (2-8 m) above the ground. Scissor-tails are noisy, and their calls are variable, including sharp "bik" or "kew" sounds, a crow-like "ka-kee, ka-kee," and a series of "ka-loop" sounds. The flycatcher's nest, typically in an isolated tree, is made of sticks and lined with soft materials.
ALSO KNOWN AS
Swallow-tailed flycatcher, Texan bird of paradise
Scissor-tailed flycatchers capture most of their prey by hovering and diving to snatch insects off vegetation or by catching flying insects in midair. They are aggressive, known to chase off much larger birds. In spring the male performs a striking courtship display, flying in a vertical zigzag pattern while opening and closing his tail feathers and twittering.
Breeds in open prairies with sparse trees and shrubs, along tree-lined roads, in small towns and in farming areas. Winters in grasslands and at the edge of tropical forests.
Range: Central United States to Central America. Breeds from southeastern Colorado and southern Nebraska to southeastern New Mexico, southeastern Texas, western Louisiana, and northeastern Mexico. The winter range is from southern Mexico and Central America to south Florida.
Conservation Status: Least Concern (LC)
Nesting Period: April to August
Size of Clutch: 3-6 eggs
Incubation Period: 14 days
Egg Description: Creamy white with brown spots on one end
Western kingbird, fork-tailed flycatcher
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|Author: World Trade Press|