Based on studies in:
USA: Arizona (Forest, Montane)
This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
Known prey organisms
Palo Verde weevil
Based on studies in:
USA: Arizona (Forest, Montane)
USA: Arizona, Sonora Desert (Desert or dune)
This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
Evolution and Systematics
Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships
Tello et al. (2009) offer a new classification as well as a phylogeny, from which this page departs slightly for two reasons: acceptance of a more traditional definition of Tyrannidae, and a desire to avoid naming groups that are not clearly monophyletic. Tyrannidae here is their Tyrannoidea; their Tyrannidae excludes Rhynchocyclinae. Tello et al. define a subfamily Tyranninae consisting of Myiarchini, Tyrannini, Attila, and the clade contaiing Ramphotrigon, but that group is not clearly monophyletic. Tello et al. defined a new family, Rhynchocyclidae, but because it is included within Tyrannidae as defined here, it has been demoted to a subfamily, and subfamilies within it are demoted to tribes. Taxonomic ranks being arbitrary, this does no violence to the authors' conception.
My criteria for acceptance of taxa within Tyrannidae is that they must have strong bootstrap support from at least one study and no strong contradiction from any, or must be supported (though not strongly) by at least two studies using independent data. For technical reasons, Bayesian posteriors are not considered strong support. Genera are listed as "not monophyletic" if there is strong bootstrap support against monophyly in any study (e.g. Ramphotrigon), and as "may not be monophyletic" if there is weak support against monophyly in at least one study and no strong contradiction.
Ramphotrigon is paraphyletic, as Deltarhynchus is embedded within it (Ohlson et al. 2008). The probable solution is submergence of the latter.
Piprites is traditionally grouped with the manakins (Pipridae), but both Tello et al. (2009) and Ohlson et al. (2008) place it within Tyrannidae. However, neither study has any support for its position within the family; it's probably somewhere near the base of the family.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage
Specimens with Sequences:2729
Specimens with Barcodes:2617
Species With Barcodes:332
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, 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.
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. Most tropical species however do not feed in this fashion and several types prefer to glean insects from leaves and bark. Tropical species are sometimes found in mixed-species foraging flocks, where various types of passerines and other smallish birds are found feeding in proximity.
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 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). A few species such as the streamer-tailed tyrant, scissor-tailed flycatcher and fork-tailed flycatcher have a larger total length (up to 41 cm (16 in)), but this is mainly due to their extremely long tails; the fork-tailed flycatcher has relatively the longest tail feathers of any known bird.
A number of species previously included in this family are now placed in the family Tityridae (see Systematics). Sibley and Alquist in their 1990 bird taxonomy had the genera Mionectes, Leptopogon, Pseudotriccus, Poecilotriccus, Taenotriccus, Hemitriccus, Todirostrum and Corythopis as a separate family Pipromorphidae, but although it is still thought that these genera are basal to most of the family, they are not each other’s closest relatives.
Habitat and distribution
Species richness of Tyrannidae, when compared to habitat, is highly variable, although most every land habitat in the Americas has at least some of these birds. The habitats of tropical lowland evergreen forest and montane evergreen forest have the highest single site species diversity while many habitats including rivers, palm forest, white sand forest, tropical deciduous forest edge, southern temperate forest, southern temperate forest edge, semi-humid/humid montane scrub, and northern temperate grassland have the lowest single species diversity. The variation between the highest and the lowest is extreme; ninety species can be found in the tropical lowland evergreen forests while the number of species that can be found in the habitats listed above typically are in the single digits. This may be due in part to the fewer niches found in certain areas and therefore fewer places for the species to occupy.
Tyrannidae specialization among habitat is very strong in tropical lowland evergreen forests and montane evergreen forests. These habitat types therefore display the greatest specialization. The counts differ by three species (tropical lowland evergreen forests have 49 endemic species and montane evergreen forests have 46 endemic species). It can be assumed that they both have similar levels of specialization.
Status and conservation
The northern beardless tyrannulet (Camptostoma imberbe) and the rose-throated becard (Pachyramphus aglaiae) are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. Both these species are common south of the US border. The situation for a number of other species from South and Central America is far more problematic. In 2007, BirdLife International (and consequently IUCN) considered two species, the Minas Gerais tyrannulet and Kaempfer's tody-tyrant critically endangered. Both are endemic to Brazil. Additionally, seven species were considered endangered and eighteen species vulnerable.
There are about 400 species in 97 genera. A full list, sortable by common and binomial names is at list of tyrant flycatchers. Species in the genera Tityra, Pachyramphus, Laniocera and Xenopsaris were formerly placed in this family, but evidence suggested they belong in their own family, the Tityridae, where they are now placed by SACC.
- Ornithion (3 species)
- Camptostoma (2 species)
- Phaeomyias - mouse-colored tyrannulet
- Nesotriccus - Cocos flycatcher
- Capsiempis - yellow tyrannulet
- Tyrannulus - yellow-crowned tyrannulet
- Myiopagis (7 species)
- Pseudelaenia - grey-and-white tyrannulet
- Elaenia (18 species)
- Serpophaga (5 species)
- Mionectes (5 species)
- Leptopogon (4 species)
- Pseudotriccus (3 species)
- Phylloscartes (23 species)
- Phyllomyias (13 species)
- Zimmerius (10 species)
- Sublegatus (3 species)
- Suiriri (2 species)
- Mecocerculus (6 species)
- Inezia (4 species)
- Stigmatura (2 species)
- Anairetes (6 species)
- Uromyias (2 species)
- Tachuris - many-colored rush tyrant
- Culicivora - sharp-tailed grass tyrant
- Polystictus (2 species)
- Pseudocolopteryx (5 species)
- Euscarthmus (2 species)
- Myiornis (4 species)
- Lophotriccus (4 species)
- Atalotriccus - pale-eyed pygmy tyrant
- Oncostoma (2 species)
- Poecilotriccus (12 species)
- Taeniotriccus - black-chested tyrant
- Hemitriccus - typical tody-tyrants (21-22 species)
- Todirostrum - typical tody-flycatchers (7 species, others now in Poecilotriccus)
- Corythopis - antpipits (2 species)
- Cnipodectes (2 species)
- Ramphotrigon (3 species)
- Rhynchocyclus (4 species)
- Tolmomyias (5 species)
- Platyrinchus - spadebills (7 species)
- Onychorhynchus - royal flycatchers (1-4 species, depending on taxonomy)
- Myiotriccus - ornate flycatcher
- Myiophobus (6 species)
- Nephelomyias (3 species)
- Terenotriccus - ruddy-tailed flycatcher
- Myiobius (5 species)
- Neopipo - cinnamon neopipo
- Pyrrhomyias - cinnamon flycatcher
- Hirundinea - cliff flycatcher
- Cnemotriccus - fuscous flycatcher
- Lathrotriccus (2 species)
- Aphanotriccus (2 species)
- Xenotriccus (2 species)
- Mitrephanes (2 species)
- Contopus - pewees (15 species)
- Empidonax (15 species)
- Sayornis - phoebes (3 species)
- Pyrocephalus - vermilion flycatcher
- Ochthoeca (9 species)
- Tumbezia - Tumbes tyrant
- Colorhamphus - Patagonian tyrant
- Ochthornis - drab water tyrant
- Cnemarchus - red-rumped bush tyrant
- Myiotheretes (4 species)
- Xolmis (8 species, including Heteroxolmis)
- Neoxolmis - chocolate-vented tyrant
- Agriornis - shrike-tyrants (5 species)
- Polioxolmis - rufous-webbed tyrant
- Muscisaxicola - ground tyrants (13 species)
- Muscigralla - short-tailed field tyrant
- Lessonia (2 species)
- Knipolegus - black tyrants (11 species)
- Hymenops - spectacled tyrant
- Fluvicola - typical water tyrants (3 species)
- Arundinicola - white-headed marsh tyrant
- Alectrurus (2 species)
- Gubernetes - streamer-tailed tyrant
- Satrapa - yellow-browed tyrant
- Colonia - long-tailed tyrant
- Machetornis - cattle tyrant
- Muscipipra - shear-tailed gray tyrant
- Attila - attilas (7-8 species)
- Casiornis (2 species)
- Sirystes - (4 species)
- Rhytipterna (3 species)
- Myiarchus (22 species)
- Deltarhynchus - flammulated flycatcher
- Pitangus - kiskadees (2 species, includes Philohydor)
- Megarynchus - boat-billed flycatcher
- Myiozetetes (4-5 species)
- Conopias (4 species)
- Myiodynastes (5 species)
- Legatus - piratic flycatcher
- Phelpsia - white-bearded flycatcher
- Empidonomus - variegated flycatcher
- Griseotyrannus - crowned slaty flycatcher (formerly in Empidonomus)
- Tyrannopsis - sulphury flycatcher
- Tyrannus - kingbirds (13 species)
- del Hoyo, J. Elliott, A. & Christie, D. (editors). (2004) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 9: Cotingas to Pipits and Wagtails. Lynx Edicions. ISBN 84-87334-69-5
- CRC Handbook of Avian Body Masses, 2nd Edition by John B. Dunning Jr. (Editor). CRC Press (2008), ISBN 978-1-4200-6444-5.
- Rheindt, Frank E., Norman, Janette A. and Christidis, Les; “Phylogenetic relationships of tyrant-ﬂycatchers (Aves: Tyrannidae), with an emphasis on the elaeniine assemblage” in Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, September 14, 2007
- "List of Migratory Bird Species Protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act as of December 2, 2013" U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- BirdLife International (2007). Species factsheets. Accessed 12 December 2007 available online
- Adopt the Family Tityridae - South American Classification Committee (2007)
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