Return of Bird of the Week: Fork-tailed Flycatcher

Wickersham's Conscience

Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Oaxaca, Mexico Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Oaxaca, Mexico

This is a pretty wretched photo; WC includes it only because it’s the best image WC has of this distant cousin to last week’s Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, the Fork-tailed Flycatcher. It’s a vagrant species in the United States, but fairly common in Mexico and Central America, and much of South America. The tail is even longer than the Scissor-tailed’s. It’s difficult to confuse the two species: the Scissor-tailed has a white head; the Fork-tailed has a black cap and lacks the buffy wash on the sides of the body.

This is a bird of open habitats, including forest edges, secondary vegetation, savannas, pastures, residential areas, lawns, woodlands, cerrado, and mangroves. It hunts on the wing, and that long tail flutters and streams behind the bird as swoops to nab flying insects.

The species has adapted to human disturbances well; we may have even increased its population and distribution…

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