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Great kiskadee

Pitangus sulphuratus

Common name:
great kiskadee (en); bem-te-vi (pt); tyran quiquivi (fr); bienteveo (es); schwefeltyrann (de)
Order Passeriformes
Family Tyrannidae
These birds are found from the southern-most United States, in Texas and Louisiana, through Central America and across South America down to Uruguay and central Argentina. They are also found in Trinidad and have been introduced to Bermuda and Tobago.
Great kiskadees are 22-25 cm long and have a wingspan of 37-39 cm. They weigh 52-68 g.


These birds are commonly found in open woodland, scrub, thickets, streamsides, groves, parks and towns. In the tropics, they avoid dense, unbroken forests for open habitats near water.

These omnivorous birds often hunt from a perch, sallying out to catch their prey either in fligh or on the ground. They eat a variety of insects, like beetles, wasps, grasshoppers, bees and moths, but also small mammals, reptiles, small birds, tadpoles and small fish, being one of the few fishing passerines. They also eat seeds, fruits and berries, especially in winter.

The great kiskadee breeding season starts in late March. Both sexes build the nest, a dome made with sticks, grass, mosses and bark, and lined with soft materials, such as wool and feathers, with a singly entry hole on the side. The nest is located in a fork of a tree or bush, where it is firmly attached, 3-9 m above the ground. There, the female lays 2-5 creamy-white eggs with brown and grey marks. She incubates the eggs alone for 13-15 days and the chicks are fed and protected by both parents until fledging, which takes place 35 days after hatching.

IUCN status – LC (Least concern)
This common and widespread species has an extremely large breeding range and a global population of 10-100 million individuals. The population trend is increasing in North America and the species is thus not threatened at present.
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