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Tityridae – Tityras and Allies

Black-tailed Tityra in Colombia: Photo by Jhon Velasquez

The Tityridae family comprises around 35 species found in the tropical forests of Central and South America. This diverse group includes birds such as tityras, becards, and sharpbills, each with unique plumage and vocalizations. They occupy various niches within their habitats, often foraging for insects and fruit in the forest canopy and understory.

Overview of Tityridae

Tityrids are a group of Neotropical songbirds that are so morphologically diverse that it’s hard to group them based on appearance alone. Some resemble flycatchers, others cotingas, and still others manakins. However, recent molecular analyses consistently place this diverse collection of Neotropical suboscines together as a distinct family. Despite their differences, all tityrids share an upright posture, large heads, and plumages dominated by white, gray, black, and brown. This family includes varied species such as the butcherbird-like tityras, the manakin-like Schiffornis, the compact purpletufts, and the cotinga-like mourners.