The Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus) is a passerine bird in the tyrant flycatcher family Tyrannidae. It is the only member of the genus Pitangus.
It breeds in open woodland with some tall trees, including cultivation and around human habitation. The Great Kiskadee is mainly found in Belize, from the Lower Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas and northern Mexico, south to Argentina and Uruguay. It also occurs all over Venezuela and Brazil (especially the central and south-southeastern regions), Paraguay and central Argentina, the Guyana coastline, and in Trinidad. It was introduced to Bermuda in 1957, and to Tobago in about 1970.
The adult Great Kiskadee is one of the largest of the tyrant flycatchers. It measures from (8.1 to 9.3 in) in length. The head is black with a strong white supercilium and a concealed yellow crown stripe. The upperparts are brown, and the wings and tail are brown with usually strong rufous fringes. The bill is short, thick, and black in color. The similar Boat-billed Flycatcher (Megarynchus pitangua) has a more massive black bill, an olive-brown back and very little rufous in the tail and wings. A few other tyrant flycatchers — the Social Flycatcher (Myiozetetes similis), for example — share a similar color pattern, but these species are markedly smaller. [Wikipedia]
Great Kiskadee Facts [All About Birds]
- The kiskadee’s bold behavior and a mix of foraging styles gave early naturalists fits in trying to classify it. In 1766, Linnaeus started things off by calling it a kind of shrike. In 1920, the naturalist William Henry Hudson wrote that the bird “seems to have studied to advantage the various habits of the Kestrel, Flycatcher, Kingfisher, Vulture, and fruit-eating Thrush; and when its weapons prove weak, it supplements them with its cunning.”
- Great Kiskadees are aggressive. They will boldly chase larger animals that attempt to raid their nests, such as monkeys, raptors, and snakes.
- For U.S. birders, Great Kiskadees belong to a suite of South Texas specialties, along with Green Jays and Altamira Orioles—birds with mostly tropical ranges that extend just north of the Texas border. South of the border, Great Kiskadees are common species through Central and South America.
- The oldest recorded Great Kiskadee lived in Texas and was male, at least 6 years, 11 months old.