Tyrant Flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Tyrant flycatchers (Tyrannidae) are relatively singless songbirds. They are a branch of passerine birds present in San Bernardino County which also occur throughout North and South America.
There are more than 400 species of these birds, making them what is considered to be the largest family of birds. They are the most diverse avian family overall in the Americas, but are relatively less diverse in the United States and Canada. The members of this large family of birds vary greatly in shape, patterns, size and colors. Some tyrant flycatchers superficially resemble the Old World flycatchers which they are named after but are not related to. They are members of suborder Tyranni (suboscines), which do not have the sophisticated vocal capabilities of most other songbirds.
Few tyrant flycatchers have spectacular color or plumage. Most, but not all, species are rather plain, with various hues of brown, gray and white commonplace. Obvious exceptions include the bright red vermilion flycatcher, blue, black, white and yellow many-colored rush-tyrant and some species of tody-flycatchers or tyrants, which are often yellow, black, white and/or rufous, from the Todirostrum, Hemitriccus and Poecilotriccus genera. Several species have bright yellow underparts, from the ornate flycatcher to the great kiskadee. Some species have erectile crests. The crest is taken to the extreme in the royal flycatcher, which is plain but for a large black-spotted, red-and-blue crest which it fans out like a peafowl tail when excited. Several of the large genera (i.e. Elaenia, Myiarchus or Empidonax) are quite difficult to tell apart in the field due to similar plumage and some are best distinguished by their voices.
Behaviorally they can vary from species such as spadebills which are tiny, shy and live in dense forest interiors to kingbirds, which are relatively large, bold, inquisitive and often inhabit open areas near human habitations. As the name implies, a great majority of tyrant flycatchers are entirely insectivorous (though not necessarily specialized in flies). Tyrant flycatchers are largely opportunistic feeders and often catch any flying or arboreal insect they encounter. However, food can vary greatly and some (like the large great kiskadee) will eat fruit or small vertebrates (e.g. small frogs). In North America, most species are associated with a “sallying” feeding style, where they fly up to catch an insect directly from their perch and then immediately return to the same perch.
The smallest family members are the closely related short-tailed pygmy tyrant and black-capped pygmy tyrant from the Myiornis genus (the first species usually being considered marginally smaller on average). These species reach a total length 2.5 inches to 2.8 inches and a weight of 4–5 grams. The minuscule size and very short tail of the Myiornis pygmy tyrants often lend them a resemblance to a tiny ball or insect. The largest tyrant flycatcher is the great shrike-tyrant at 11.5 inches and 3.5 ounces.  A few species such as the streamer-tailed tyrant, scissor-tailed flycatcher and fork-tailed flycatcher have a larger total length of up to 16 inches, but this is mainly due to their extremely long tails; the fork-tailed flycatcher has relatively the longest tail feathers of any known bird.
They often flick their wings and tails rapidly.
Flycatchers build shallow cup nests with plant fibers, grasses, leaves and bark shreds, lined with down, soft plant fibers and hair. The nest is usually situated three to thirty feet high in a shrub or short tree.
The average clutch consists of 2 – 3 eggs, sometimes with colored spots. The female alone incubates the eggs for about 14 – 17 days. The young fledge, i.e., leave the nest, when they are about 13 – 16 days old.

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