Tyrannidae – Tyrant flycatchers

The world’s largest and most diverse zoological family of birds

Tyrant flycatchers are predominantly found in the Americas, especially South America. This family is the largest group of passerine birds in the New World and is characterized by an astonishing diversity in morphology, behavior, and ecology.

The physical appearance of tyrant flycatchers ranges from the plain and cryptically colored species that blend into their woodland habitats to the more distinctive and brightly colored or patterned species with elaborate plumage features such as crests and long tails, which are often used in displays during mating rituals.

Tyrant flycatchers are incredibly adaptable and can be found in a multitude of environments. From the dense interiors of tropical rainforests to the sparse scrublands, from alpine tundra to coastal mangroves, and from lush savannas to the edges of human settlements, these birds have evolved to exploit a wide array of ecological niches.

In terms of diet, the majority of tyrant flycatchers are insectivorous and adept at capturing a variety of insects and other invertebrates, thanks to their agile flight and maneuverability. Their bills, often equipped with rictal bristles, are highly adapted for snapping up flying insects. While insects constitute the bulk of their diet, some species will also consume fruits and berries, particularly when insects are less abundant.

The breeding behavior of the Tyrannidae family is diverse, with most species being monogamous and exhibiting biparental care, where both male and female share responsibilities for nest building, incubation, and feeding of the young. Nesting sites and structures vary widely among species, from simple cups placed in the forks of branches to more complex hanging nests woven with plant fibers.