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Tyrannidae – Tyrant Flycatchers

Mottle-cheeked Tyrannulet in Argentina: Photo by Jorge Quiroga

Tyrant flycatchers, belonging to the family Tyrannidae, are a diverse group of small to medium-sized birds found predominantly in the Americas. Known for their adeptness at catching insects on the wing, they occupy a variety of habitats ranging from forests to open fields. With over 400 species, they display a wide range of colors and behaviors, from the vibrant Vermilion Flycatcher to the more subdued pewees and phoebes.

Overview of Tyrannidae

Tyrannidae stands as the largest bird family, representing one of the primary branches of passerine diversity in the Neotropics. Within this expansive family, numerous genera have branched out into a multitude of closely resembling species, presenting a challenge for field identification. Typically characterized by large heads, often with a hint of a majestic crest, and long tails, they maintain an upright posture, with plumage often featuring shades of yellow or green. However, exceptions abound, with some displaying enchanting all-white, all-black, or even scarlet hues, along with others boasting peculiarly long or bizarre tail feathers. Despite this diversity in appearance, they collectively embody energetic insectivores, often observed darting after prey with fervor.