Where the birds build their nests, And the stork, whose home is the fir trees. (Psalms 104:17 NASB)
Last week we saw some of the Tyrant Flycatcher family. This time, with over 400 species, just this family of birds will be featured.
The tyrant flycatchers are birds which occur throughout North and South America. They are considered the largest family of birds, with more than 400 species. They are the most diverse avian family in every country in the Americas, except for the United States and Canada. As could be expected from a family this large, the members vary greatly in shape, patterns, size and colors. 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.
Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) by Dario Sanches
The smallest family members are the closely related short-tailed pygmy tyrant and black-capped pygmy tyrant. These species reach a total length of 6.5–7 cm (2.5–2.8 in) and a weight of 4–5 grams. By length, they are the smallest passerines on earth, although some species of Old World warblers apparently rival them in their minuscule mean body masses if not in total length. 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 29 cm (11.5 in) and 99.2 grams (3.5 oz).
Please enjoy watching a slideshow of some more of the Lord’s neatly created birds as you listen our orchestra and then the choir sing.
All the kings of the earth will give thanks to You, O LORD, When they have heard the words of Your mouth. And they will sing of the ways of the LORD, For great is the glory of the LORD. (Psalms 138:4-5 NASB)
The Grey Kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis) which we saw at Honeymoon Island SP last week was a Life Bird for me. Most Americans call it Gray, but the I.O.C. List of Birds use the Grey spelling. Either way, grey or gray, it is the same bird. That is one reason they use the Scientific name of Tyrannus dominicensisto ID the bird.
Recently I purchased the Latin for Bird Lovers book, because I have tried to see what these “scientific” mean on my own and thought this would be interesting. The book has over 3,000 bird names. I found it to be something quite useful, for me, at least. So let’s see what our Tyrannus dominicensis actually means.
Tyrannus – “ti-RAN-nus” – “Tyrant, as in Tyanannus Allugularis, The White-throated Kingbird” [p.205]
dominicensis – “doe-min-ib-SEN-sis-” – “After the Commonwealth of Dominica in the West Indies, as in Pluvialis dominica, the American Golden Plover, which passes through the West Indies during migrations.” [p.61]
Grey Kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis) by Lee at Honeymoon Is SP
The bird also has found a house, And the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, Even Your altars, O LORD of hosts, My King and my God. (Psalms 84:3 NASB)
“The Grey or Gray Kingbird, also known as Pitirre (Tyrannus dominicensis) is a passerine bird. It breeds from the extreme southeast of the USA, mainly in Florida, through Central America, from Cuba to Puerto Rico as well as eastward towards all across the Lesser West Indies, south to Venezuela, Trinidad, Tobago the Guiana and Colombia. Northern populations are migratory, wintering on the Caribbean coast of Central America and northern South America.
Grey Kingbird by Dan at HISP
This tyrant flycatcher is found in tall trees and shrubs, including the edges of savanna and marshes. It makes a flimsy cup nest in a tree. The female incubates the typical clutch of two cream eggs, which are marked with reddish-brown. Grey Kingbirds wait on an exposed perch high in a tree,which is where we found it, occasionally sallying out to feed on insects, their staple diet.
The adult Grey Kingbird is an average-sized kingbird. It measures 9.1 in (23 cm) in length and weighs from 1.3 to 1.8 oz (37 to 52 g). The upper parts are grey, with brownish wings and tail, and the underparts are white with a grey tinge to the chest. The head has a concealed yellow crown stripe, and a dusky mask through the eyes. The dark bill is heavier than that of the related, slightly smaller, Tropical Kingbird. The sexes are similar, but young birds have rufous edges on the wing coverts, rump and tail.
Grey Kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis) by Lee at Honeymoon Is SP
The call is a loud rolling trill, pipiri pipiri, which is the reason behind many of its local names, like pestigre or pitirre, in the Spanish-speaking Greater Antilles, or “petchary” in some of the English-speaking zones.
Like other kingbirds, these birds aggressively defend their territory against intruders, including mammals and much larger birds such as caracaras and Red-Tailed Hawks. This phenomenon has led to the widespread adoption of the pitirre as a nationalist symbol (a sort of David vs. Goliath figure) in Puerto Rico.
It is found in increasing numbers in the state of Florida, and is more often found inland though it had been previously restricted to the coast. The species was first described on the island of Hispaniola, then called Santo Domingo, thus the dominicensis name.” (from Wikipedia with editing)
Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) by Lee at Honeymoon Is SP
I added this Northern Mockingbird which was also there at the State Park. At first we kept thinking the Kingbird was a Mockingbird. If you compare the photos, you will notice the Mockingbird has a white spot on its wings and also a black spot near its ear. They are very close though. Also, Dan’s photo of the Kingbird came out more brownish. It may be that he caught a younger one. There were several at the park.
Isn’t the Lord great in that He makes us work for the IDs of these birds. As I have said, He should have put name tags on them, but then we wouldn’t learn about His creativity, would we? It is good for us to learn new things. Never get bored with learning.
Make me know Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths. (Psalms 25:4 NASB)
I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. (Psalms 32:8 KJV)
Blue-billed Black Tyrant (Knipolegus cyanirostris) by Dario Sanches
The Tyrannidae – Tyrant Flycatchers is complete minus one bird, the Spectacled BristleTyrant (Pogonotriccus orbitalis). Big deal you say? I decided to dig into that family and try to get the photos for it. I have been at it for about 3 days to find the missing 300 species. This is the largest bird family. There are 421 members there and I had already collected or found links to 121 of them.
I have searched high and low for that Spectacled Bristle Tyrant and the best I could find is a stamp with it’s photo on it. It is found in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. It also referred to as the Spectacled Bristle-tyrant (Phylloscartes orbitalis) and it is said to be common. That may be true, but no one has posted a photo of that Spectacled bird.
“The tyrant flycatchers (Tyrannidae) are a clade of passerine birds which occur throughout North and South America. They are considered the largest family of birds on Earth, with more than 400 species. They are the most diverse avian family in every country in the Americas, except for the United States and Canada. As could be expected from a family this large, the members 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.” (Wikipedia)
That family also has another Spectacled bird, the Spectacled Tyrant (Hymenops perspicillatus).
Sometimes we are challenged to get the hardest projects finished first. This has been one of those times. Was it drudgery? No way! Even though these are not the prettiest birds, they have personality and expressions on their faces. The Lord created all these neat birds and I was enjoying seeing them. I had my internet radio playing, (Old Fashioned Christian Music Radio) and I just kept plugging away. (For hours!) Our attitudes can be enjoyable even when we are busy. I could have been “grumpy” and said, “there are too many birds to find, it will take forever” or, as I did, it was a joy to work on this page even though many bloggers will never see it.
I just kept making expressions as the various birds were viewed. I am always amazed at the variety that the Lord uses. What expression of surprise when I saw the Spectacled Tyrant above. (He is not the one I need yet.)
And of course, Scripture comes to mind or you wonder how a word is used in His Word. These are called “tyrant” and sure enough, I found some verses with “tyrant” in them.
Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) by Margaret Sloan Eating
“an the prey be taken from the mighty man, Or the captives of a tyrant be rescued?” (Isaiah 49:24 NASB)
Surely, thus says the LORD, “Even the captives of the mighty man will be taken away, And the prey of the tyrant will be rescued; For I will contend with the one who contends with you, And I will save your sons. (Isaiah 49:25 NASB)
This prey in the mouth of the Tyrant family doesn’t look like he will escape.
It is always enjoyable when we finish a project. I still have about 50 Families yet to finish, but this was the largest and it feels good to accomplish something.
Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation. Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them. Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever. He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and merciful. (Psalms 111:1-4 ESV)
I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings. (Psalms 77:11-12 KJV)
What better when all of life is over and we hear something like this verses
His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ (Matthew 25:21 ESV)