Tyrant flycatcher

Tyrant flycatcher

name = Tyrant flycatchers

image_width = 240px
image_caption = Scissor-tailed Flycatcher "Tyrannus forficatus"
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Aves
ordo = Passeriformes
subordo = Tyranni
familia = Tyrannidae
familia_authority = Vigors, 1825
subdivision_ranks = Genera
subdivision = Some 100, see text

range_map_width = 240px
range_map_caption = Distribution of tyrant flycatchers

The tyrant flycatchers (Tyrannidae) are a family of passerine birds which occur throughout North and South America, but are mainly tropical in distribution. They are now considered the largest family of birds on earth, with around 400 species. In every country in the Americas, except for the United States and Canada, they are the most diverse avian family. As could be expected from a family this large, the members vary greatly both in shape, patterns and colours. Some Tyrant flycatchers superficially resemble the Old World flycatchers. They are members of suborder Tyranni (suboscines) that do not have the sophisticated vocal capabilities of the songbirds.

Most, but not all, are rather plain, and many have erectile crests. As the name implies, most are insectivorous, but some will eat fruit or small vertebrates (e.g. small frogs). The smallest family members are the closely related Short-tailed Pygmy-Tyrant and Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant. With a total length of a mere 6.5-6.8 cm (2.5-2.7 in) and a weight of 4-5 grams, they are the smallest passerines on earth. The largest tyrant flycatcher is the Great Shrike-Tyrant at 29 cm (11.5 in) and 88 grams (3.1 oz). A few species such as the Streamer-tailed Tyrant and Fork-tailed Flycatcher have a larger total length, but this is mainly due to their very long tails.

A number of species previously included in this family are now placed in the family Tityridae ("see Systematics").

Habitat and distribution

Species richness of Tyrannidae, when compared to habitat, is highly variable. The habitats of tropical lowland evergreen forest and montane evergreen forest have the highest single site species diversity while many habitats including rivers, palm forest, white sand forest, tropical deciduous forest edge, southern temperate forest, southern temperate forest edge, semi-humid/humid montane scrub, and northern temperate grassland have the lowest single species diversity. The variation between the highest and the lowest is extreme; ninety species can be found in the tropical lowland evergreen forests while the number of species that can be found in the habitats listed above typically are in the single digits. This may be due in part to the fewer niches found in certain areas and therefore fewer places for the species to occupy.

Tyrannidae specialization among habitat is very strong in tropical lowland evergreen forests and montane evergreen forests. These habitat types therefore display the greatest specialization. The counts differ by three species (tropical lowland evergreen forests have 49 endemic species and montane evergreen forests have 46 endemic species). It can be assumed that they both have similar levels of specialization.

Regionally, the Atlantic Forest has the highest species richness with the Chocó following closely behind.

Protected status

The Northern Beardless Tyrannulet ("Camptostoma imberbe") and the Rose-throated Becard ("Pachyramphus aglaiae") are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. [http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/intrnltr/mbta/mbtandx.html] . Both these species are common south of the US border. The situation for a number of other species from South and Central America is far more problematic. In 2007, BirdLife International (and consequently IUCN) considered two species, the Minas Gerais Tyrannulet and Kaempfer's Tody-Tyrant critically endangered. Both are endemic to Brazil. Additional, 7 species were considered endangered and 18 species vulnerable. [BirdLife International (2007). Species factsheets. Accessed 12 December 2007 [http://www.birdlife.org/ available online] ]


There are about 400 species in over 100 genera. A full list, sortable by common and binomial names is at list of tyrant flycatchers. Species in the genera "Tityra", "Pachyramphus", "Laniocera" and "Xenopsaris" have been placed in this family, but evidence strongly suggest they belong in Tityridae [ [http://www.museum.lsu.edu/~Remsen/SACCprop313.html Adopt the Family Tityridae] - South American Classification Committee (2007)] , where now placed by SACC.

* Genus "Ornithion" (3 species)
* Genus "Camptostoma" (2 species)
* Genus "Phaeomyias" - Mouse-colored Tyrannulet
* Genus "Nesotriccus" - Cocos Island Flycatcher
* Genus "Capsiempis" - Yellow Tyrannulet
* Genus "Tyrannulus" - Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet
* Genus "Myiopagis" (7 species)
* Genus "Pseudelaenia" - Gray-and-white Tyrannulet
* Genus "Elaenia" (18 species)
* Genus "Serpophaga" (5 species)
* Genus "Mionectes" (5 species)
* Genus "Leptopogon" (4 species)
* Genus "Pseudotriccus" (3 species)
* Genus "Phylloscartes" (23 species)
* Genus "Phyllomyias" (13 species)
* Genus "Zimmerius" (7 species)
* Genus "Sublegatus" (3 species)
* Genus "Suiriri" (2 species)
* Genus "Mecocerculus" (6 species)
* Genus "Inezia" (4 species)
* Genus "Stigmatura" (2 species)
* Genus "Uromyias" - sometimes included in "Anairetes" (2 species)
* Genus "Anairetes" - typical tit-tyrants (6 species)
* Genus "Tachuris" - Many-colored Rush-tyrant
* Genus "Culicivora" - Sharp-tailed Grass-Tyrant
* Genus "Polystictus" (2 species)
* Genus "Pseudocolopteryx" (4 species)
* Genus "Euscarthmus" (2 species)
* Genus "Myiornis" (4 species)
* Genus "Lophotriccus" (5 species)
* Genus "Oncostoma" (2 species)
* Genus "Poecilotriccus" (12 species)
* Genus "Taeniotriccus" - Black-chested Tyrant
* Genus "Hemitriccus" - typical tody-tyrants (20 species)
* Genus "Todirostrum" - typical tody-flycatchers (7 species, others now in "Poecilotriccus")
* Genus "Corythopis" - antpipits (2 species)
* Genus "Cnipodectes" (2 species)
* Genus "Ramphotrigon" (3 species)
* Genus "Rhynchocyclus" (4 species)
* Genus "Tolmomyias" (5 species)
* Genus "Platyrinchus" - spadebills (7 species)
* Genus "Onychorhynchus" - Royal Flycatchers (1-4 species, depending on taxonomy)
* Genus "Myiotriccus" - Ornate Flycatcher
* Genus "Myiophobus" (9 species)
* Genus "Terenotriccus" - Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher
* Genus "Myiobius" (5 species)
* Genus "Neopipo" - Cinnamon Tyrant
* Genus "Pyrrhomyias" - Cinnamon Flycatcher
* Genus "Hirundinea" - Cliff Flycatcher and Swallow Flycatcher
* Genus "Cnemotriccus" - Fuscous Flycatcher
* Genus "Lathrotriccus" (2 species)
* Genus "Aphanotriccus" (2 species)
* Genus "Xenotriccus" (2 species)
* Genus "Mitrephanes" (2 species)
* Genus "Contopus" - pewees (14 species)
* Genus "Empidonax" (15 species)
* Genus "Sayornis" - phoebes (3 species)
* Genus "Pyrocephalus" - Vermilion Flycatcher
* Genus "Silvicultrix" (3 species)
* Genus "Ochthoeca" (9 species)
* Genus "Tumbezia" - Tumbes Tyrant
* Genus "Colorhamphus" - Patagonian Tyrant
* Genus "Ochthornis" - Drab Water-tyrant
* Genus "Cnemarchus" - Red-rumped Bush-tyrant
* Genus "Myiotheretes" (4 species)
* Genus "Xolmis" (8 species, including "Heteroxolmis")
* Genus "Neoxolmis" - Chocolate-vented Tyrant
* Genus "Agriornis" - shrike-tyrants (5 species)
* Genus "Polioxolmis" - Rufous-webbed Tyrant
* Genus "Muscisaxicola" - ground-tyrants (13 species)
* Genus "Muscigralla" - Short-tailed Field-tyrant
* Genus "Lessonia" (2 species)
* Genus "Knipolegus" - black-tyrants (11 species)
* Genus "Hymenops" - Spectacled Tyrant
* Genus "Fluvicola" - typical water-tyrants (3 species)
* Genus "Arundinicola" - White-headed Marsh-tyrant
* Genus "Alectrurus" (2 species)
* Genus "Gubernetes" - Streamer-tailed Tyrant
* Genus "Satrapa" - Yellow-browed Tyrant
* Genus "Colonia" - Long-tailed Tyrant
* Genus "Machetornis" - Cattle Tyrant
* Genus "Muscipipra" - Shear-tailed Gray Tyrant
* Genus "Attila" - attilas (7-8 species)
* Genus "Casiornis" (2 species)
* Genus "Sirystes" - Sirystes
* Genus "Rhytipterna" (3 species)
* Genus "Myiarchus" (22 species)
* Genus "Deltarhynchus" - Flammulated Flycatcher
* Genus "Pitangus" - kiskadees (2 species, includes "Philohydor")
* Genus "Megarynchus" - Boat-billed Flycatcher
* Genus "Myiozetetes" (4-5 species)
* Genus "Conopias" (4 species)
* Genus "Myiodynastes" (5 species)
* Genus "Legatus" - Piratic Flycatcher
* Genus "Phelpsia" - White-bearded Flycatcher
* Genus "Empidonomus" - Variegated Flycatcher
* Genus "Griseotyrannus" - Crowned Slaty Flycatcher (formerly in "Empidonomus")
* Genus "Tyrannopsis" - Sulphury Flycatcher
* Genus "Tyrannus" - kingbirds (13 species)


External links

* [http://ibc.hbw.com/ibc/phtml/familia.phtml?idFamilia=115 Tyrant Flycatcher videos] on the Internet Bird Collection

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • tyrant flycatcher — flycatcher (def. 2). [1775 85] * * * ▪ bird also called  New World Flycatcher,    any of about 367 species of aggressive, insect eating New World birds of the family Tyrannidae (order Passeriformes). About one third of the species are not… …   Universalium

  • Tyrant flycatcher — Tyrant Tyr ant (t[imac] rant), n. [OE. tirant, tiraunt, tyraunt, OF. tiran, tirant (probably from confusion with the p. pr. of verbs), F. tyran, L. tyrannus, Gr. ty rannos, originally, an absolute sovereign, but afterwards, a severe or cruel… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • tyrant flycatcher — n. any of a family (Tyrannidae) of American flycatchers, including the pewee, phoebe, and kingbird …   English World dictionary

  • tyrant flycatcher — noun large American birds that characteristically catch insects on the wing • Syn: ↑New World flycatcher, ↑flycatcher, ↑tyrant bird • Hypernyms: ↑tyrannid • Hyponyms: ↑kingbird, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • tyrant flycatcher — /taɪrənt ˈflaɪkætʃə/ (say tuyruhnt fluykachuh) noun any of various birds of the family Tyrannidae, as the ochre bellied flycatcher, Mionectes oleagineus, of the Americas; tyrant …  

  • tyrant flycatcher — noun a flycatcher of a large family (Tyrannidae) including all American species. Origin C18: so named because of their aggressive behaviour towards other birds …   English new terms dictionary

  • tyrant flycatcher — ty′rant fly′catcher n. orn flycatcher 1) • Etymology: 1775–85 …   From formal English to slang

  • tyrant flycatcher — noun Date: circa 1783 any of a large family (Tyrannidae) of American flycatchers that are usually strictly insectivorous and have a flattened bill often hooked at the tip and usually bristly at the gape …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • tyrant flycatcher — noun any of a group of passerine birds, of family Tyrannidae, that inhabit the Americas …   Wiktionary

  • Tyrant — Tyr ant (t[imac] rant), n. [OE. tirant, tiraunt, tyraunt, OF. tiran, tirant (probably from confusion with the p. pr. of verbs), F. tyran, L. tyrannus, Gr. ty rannos, originally, an absolute sovereign, but afterwards, a severe or cruel ruler.] 1.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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