Creature Feature: Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher

By MDC | July 1, 2022
From Xplor: July/August 2022
Body

Safety Whiskers

Bristly feathers around the beak protect a flycatcher’s eyes from debris (and gnats) as the bird zips through the air.

Snappy Yapper

A long, wide beak increases the chance of catching an insect when the beak snaps shut.

Tall Tails

The namesake, forked tail can be nearly twice as long as the rest of the bird’s body.

Fearless Defender

Scissor-tails fiercely defend their nests by dive-bombing and pecking at intruders — even bigger animals like hawks, raccoons, and humans.

Fancy Flyers

Using its long tail like an airplane’s rudder allows a flycatcher to swoop and swerve like a feathered fighter jet.

Bug Basher

To subdue large prey, like grasshoppers, a scissor-tail returns to its perch and pounds the prey to a pulp against a branch or fence post.

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This Issue's Staff

Artist - Alexis (AJ) Joyce
Photographer – Noppadol Paothong
Photographer – David Stonner
Designer – Marci Porter
Designer – Les Fortenberry
Art Director – Cliff White
Editor – Matt Seek
Subscriptions – Laura Scheuler
Magazine Manager – Stephanie Thurber