Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Tyrannus forficatus




Tyrant Flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

White with red, olive, gray and brown blotches

Number of Eggs:

3 - 6

Incubation Days:

14 - 17

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

7 - 40 feet above ground., In tree or shrub or utility pole, or other man-made structure.

Nest Material:

Twigs, Lined with weeds, rootlets, grass, and hair.





Scissor-tailed Flycatcher: Medium-sized flycatcher with pale gray upperparts and head, white underparts and throat, salmon-pink sides and flanks, and dark brown wings with white edges. Tail is long and scissor-like, black above with white outer edges and white below with black inner edges. Male's tail is longer than female's. Juvenile is paler overall with yellow or pink wash on underparts and shorter tail.

Range and Habitat

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher: Breeds from eastern Colorado and Nebraska south to Texas and western Louisiana. Spends winters south of U.S.-Mexico border; a few in southern Florida. Preferred habitats include open country along roadsides and on ranches with scattered trees and bushes; often seen on fence posts and utility wires.

Breeding and Nesting

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher: Three to six white eggs with red, brown, olive, and gray blotches are laid in a nest made of twigs, lined with rootlets, grass, weeds, and hair, and built from 7 to 40 feet above the ground in a tree, shrub, utility pole, post, building, or other man-made structure. Incubation ranges from 14 to 17 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher: Eats insects, especially grasshoppers and crickets. Perches on branch, utility wire, or fence, flying down to capture prey on the ground.

Readily Eats

Meal Worms


Scissor-tailed Flycatcher: Song is a harsh sharp "bik" or "kew." Call is a dry, buzzing chattering "ka-quee-ka-quee" or repeated "ka-lup."

Similar Species

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher: Fork-tailed Flycatcher has a black head. Western Kingbird is similar to juvenile but has yellow underparts, olive-green tinted back, and a squared tail.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X