Masked water-tyrant

Masked water-tyrant
Fluvicola nengeta
(Photo from Paraiba)

Common name:
masked water-tyrant (en); lavadeira-mascarada (pt); moucherolle aquatique (fr); viudita enmascarada (es); graurücken-wassertyrann (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Tyrannidae

This South American species occur in two separate populations. The nominate Fluvicola nengeta nengeta is found in eastern and south-eastern Brazil, while F. n. atripennis is found on the Pacific slopes of western Ecuador and north-western Peru.

These birds are 15-16 cm long and weigh 21 g.

These birds are typically found near rivers and lagoons, in swamps or near the sea, using moist scrublands, cerrado woodlands, degraded tropical forests, mangroves and arable and. They are also found inside urban areas.

Masked water-tyrants collect their prey on the ground or in the muddy banks of rivers, lagoons or swamps, mostly insects like butterflies, dragonflies, grasshoppers and larvae.

These birds breed in July-November. They build a cup-shaped nest made of twigs and other plant material and lined with feathers, hairs and sometimes plastic. The nest is placed on a small tree or bush, up to 2 m above the ground, generally near water. The female lays 3 white eggs with brown spots, which she seems to incubate alone for 15 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 10-12 days after hatching, but only become fully independent about 1 week later.

IUCN status – LC (Least concern)
The masked water-tyrant has a very large breeding range and is described as fairly common. This species can easily adapt to human-changed habitats and in Brazil it seems to be spreading south as a result of deforestation.

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