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KNOWN FOR HIS BOISTEROUS NATURE, THIS BOLDLY MARKED BIRD IS COVERED HEAD TO TAIL IN BEAUTIFULLY CONTRASTING RED AND BLACK – MEET THE GREAT KISKADEE!

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A boldly marked, boisterous flycatcher that looks vividly bright with a contrasting yellow belly, and black-masked head.

MEET THE GREAT KISKADEE

The great kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus), called bem-te-vi in Brazil, is a passerine bird in the tyrant flycatcher family TyrannidaeAdult Great Kiskadees are 22cm long and weigh 63g. The head is black with a strong white eyestripe and a concealed yellow crown stripe. The upper parts are brown, and the wings and tail are brown with usually strong rufous fringes. The black bill is short and thick.

The similar Boat-billed Flycatcher has a massive black bill, an olive-brown back, and very little rufous in the tail and wings.

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Females look very similar to males.

It is mainly found in Belize, and from the Lower Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas and northern Mexico. Occurs throughout Brazil and Venezuela (especially the central and south-southeastern regions) south to Argentina and Uruguay, Paraguay and central Argentina, the Guyana coastline, and on Trinidad. It was introduced to Bermuda in 1957, and to Tobago in about 1970.

The great kiskadee likes open woodland with tall trees, including cultivation and around human habitation.

An almost omnivorous bird, they hunt like a shrike or flycatcher, waiting on an open perch high in a tree to sally out to catch insects on the wing, or descending on rodents, or other small prey. They will also take some fruit and occasionally dive for fish in shallow water (making them one of the few fish-eating passerines). Such opportunistic feeding behavior makes them one of the most common birds in urban areas around Latin America.

The nest, built by both sexes in a tree or telephone pole, is a ball of sticks with a side entrance. The typical clutch is 3 or 4 cream eggs lightly blotched with reddish-brown. They are incubated by the female for about 15 days. The young fledge after 16 days. The young are fed by both sexes, sometimes this species is parasitized by Shiny Cowbirds. Kiskadees are monogamous. A male will mate with only one female. The mating season begins in late March. The female great kiskadee lays two to five creamy-white and brown speckled eggs in a domed nest made of sticks, grass, moss, and bark. The nest has a single entry hole and is lined with soft materials like wool and feathers. The nest is usually built in a thorn tree or bush. Both parents defend the nesting territory and care for the young.

This species has a large range, with an estimated global extent of occurrence of 16,000,000 km². It has a large global population, estimated to be 5,000,000? 50,000,000 individuals (Rich et al. 2003). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List.

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