Tyrant flycatchers, or simply tyrants, are the largest family of primitive passerines (362 species and 115 genera). They are distributed in all zones of North and Central America, reaching the greatest diversity in the South. Many different tyrants live in the islands of the West Indies. They are in the Galapagos. The sizes of tyrants are mostly small - from a sparrow, but some of them are even smaller, while others are larger - like a jay.
For the most part, these are small nondescript colored olive-yellowish or grayish-white crested birds, although some species have different decorations on the head or tail and bright colors. Males and females are the same. Everywhere they are very noticeable birds due to their great activity.
Tyrants, like the Old World flycatchers, have several stiff bristles in the corners of their mouths, which provide an accurate grasp of insects. They mainly feed on them, although larger species catch even small vertebrates. Some tyrants look out for prey, sitting on a protruding branch of a tree, and, noticing it, catch it on the fly and return to their observation post. Other species fly in the crowns of trees, after catching an insect, they sit on their perches, where they swallow their prey. By the way, such tyrants at first glance are very reminiscent of heifers and white-eyed ones. There are tyrants who hunt low above the ground in pursuit of beetles and grasshoppers, and, finally, few run on the ground, alternating short, quick runs with short-term freezing in place. So they scare away insects and then catch them by jumping or taking off. They eat their prey while sitting on the ground. Thus, it catches insects, for example, the red-crested tyrant (Maclietornis rixosa), which, in addition, has the habit of sitting on the backs of cows and collecting parasites there - ticks and fleas. Finally, some species fly low above the water, capturing not only insects in flight, but also small fish from the surface layer of the water. Many species of this family belong to the mixed flocks of various insectivorous birds that are very characteristic of the tropical forests of South America.
The nests are varied. They can be open at the top and closed. They are placed in a fork in a branch, on flat bases, sometimes in rocks, sometimes (in a forest) on the ground. Small tyrants from the genera Comptostoma and ToJmomyias nest in trees near colonial wasps and ants' nests, which provides them with protection from climbing predators.
The Todi flycatcher (Todirostrum cinereum) makes a purse-like hanging nest with a side entry. The nest is built by the female, she, apparently, also incubates.
In clutch of tropical species 2-3 eggs, in species of high latitudes up to 4. Most species incubate for 14-18 days, some 19-23 days. Chicks are fed by both parents from 14 to 24 days.
Tyrants are very aggressive birds. They actively defend their nesting or forage territory, expelling any other invading birds, regardless of their size. This is where the name of this group comes from. The male marks the nesting area with an endlessly repeated simple song, which is very different even among closely related species.
The boat-beak (Megarhynchus pitangua) is one of the largest members of the family. Its length is up to 28 cm, weight 55-65 g. The back is brown, the bottom is lemon-yellow. There is an orange longitudinal stripe on the forehead, and a white eyebrow above each eye. But the most remarkable thing about it is a wide, powerful beak, designed for seizing large insects. Among tyrants of this shape, only green scapula beaks (Platyrinchus) have a beak, but they, on the contrary, are small birds. Due to its size, the boatbeak is able to catch small mice, lizards, frogs and, they say, even birds.
A small, 15 cm long, red tyrant (PyrocephaJus rubinus) has a contrasting red-black color. It is found in open, dry landscapes from the southern states of the United States to Argentina, as well as the Galapagos Islands.
The so-called royal tyrant (Onychorhyphus coronatus), which has a dull olive back and wings, and a yellowish underside, draws attention to itself with a fan-shaped crest of red (yellow in females), with black-blue ends of feathers. During mating games, the crest sometimes spreads like a fan, then completely hides. The length of these birds is 16-17 cm. They keep mainly on the ground, near small rivers in the pampas and in sparse forests. 2 eggs are laid in long hanging nests. Distributed in the northern part of South America.
2 species of the genus Muscivora - scissor-tailed (M. forficata) and fork-tailed (M. tyrannus) flycatchers - have long tail feathers, more than 2 times longer than the body. Their tails help them to make sharp throws and sharp turns in the air when catching fast-flying flies in open biotopes. Flycatchers in general in America are called many tyrants, as well as the entire group of these birds as a whole.
Tyrannous are divided into 7 large subfamilies, differing in their way of life. In some of them there are several voluminous genera - Myiarchus, Empidonax, Contopus, EJaenia, in which many species do not differ at all externally, not only in the field, but even in collections. But the voices of these similar birds are completely different.
Tyrannous, or tyrannous flycatchers (Latin Tyrannidae) are a vast family of passerine birds that live exclusively in America and on the islands adjacent to it. Tyrannians have a round beak almost as long as the head, with a hook and with light lateral notches at the end of the beak and with bristles near the nostrils and edges of the mouth. The wings are usually long and sharp, the tail is more or less long. They live in pairs on forest edges, in gardens and fields covered with bushes, feed mainly on insects. the way they are chased is the same as that of our flycatchers - that's why tyrants are sometimes called the flycatchers of the new world. During the nesting period, they attack every bird approaching their nest, not excluding large predators. Tyrants got their name for the pursuit of other birds. Nests of the most varied shape - from cupped to hanging or closed. Eggs 2-8, whitish with brown specks. Incubation lasts 14–20 days, and nest feeding lasts 14–23 days. The largest family of passerine tyrants includes 397 species. The most famous of the South American species is bentevi (Saurophagus su l phuratus) - widespread in northern Brazil, Guiana and Trinidad, growing from a great thrush, greenish-brown above, yellow below, black head with a yellow spot on the back of the head, with a white forehead and with a white superciliary stripe, white throat, flight and tail feathers with rusty edges. Nests on trees made of moss and leaves, closed on top, with a side hole. / (Wikipedia)