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Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Showing off for the ladies
© Ken Slade View Large

The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher nests in the open country of Texas, Oklahoma, and the south-central region. An elegant bird of pale silver-gray, with a slender, deeply forked tail longer than its body, it has stunning, vivid salmon-pink flanks and underwings. Agile in flight, it can spread and fold its tail, altering the surface area, like an extra pair of wings. When displaying to a female, the male dives again and again, opening and closing its tail. He may even perform a reverse somersault, flashing his pink sides and that long streamer of a tail.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®

A Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Turns Somersaults

Written by Bob Sundstrom

This is BirdNote.

    [Scissor-tailed Flycatcher call, http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/105244, 0.11-.14]
That’s one of the country’s most unforgettable birds — a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. And right now, they’re migrating north to nest in the open country of Texas, Oklahoma, and the south-central region. 
[Scissor-tailed Flycatcher call, http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/105244, 0.11-.14]
The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher goes beyond elegant – it’s truly a fanciful bird.
Robin-sized … the palest of silver-grays … with a slender, deeply forked tail that’s longer than its body. And when the Scissor-tail lifts its wings, it flashes vivid salmon-pink flanks and underwings. Stunning.
[Scissor-tailed Flycatcher call, http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/40548, 0.6-.07] 
Most of the Scissor-tail’s closest relatives have normal length tails. But with that extra length and the scissor-shaped structure comes incredible agility in flight. As the bird flies, it can spread and fold its tail, dramatically altering the surface area. It’s almost like the Scissor-tail has an extra pair of wings, as it twists in mid-air, chasing down an insect.  
[Scissor-tailed Flycatcher call, http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/40548, 0.6-.07]
     When displaying to a female, the male Scissor-tail flies straight up and dives steeply down again and again, opening and closing its tail. And to top it off, he may even perform a reverse, mid-air somersault, flashing his pink sides and that long streamer of a tail in the same instant. Breathtaking.
[Scissor-tailed Flycatcher call, http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/40548, 0.6-.07]
For BirdNote, I’m Michael Stein.

###

Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. 105244 and 40548 recorded by Geoffrey A. Keller.
 BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Sallie Bodie
© 2017 Tune In to Nature.org  April 2017  Narrator: Michael Stein

ID#            STFL-01-2017-04-25    STFL-01



[Scissor-tailed Flycatcher call, http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/105244, 0.11-.14]

Courtship flight: http://texasnature.blogspot.com/2006/03/scissor-tailed-flycatchers-are.html

Forked tail and flight https://books.google.com/books?id=fsuroRrJ5zAC&pg=PA17&lpg=PA17&dq=forke...

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