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Great Kiskadee

Great Kiskadee
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2013-09-18
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D90, Sigma 135-400mm f/4.5-5.6 APO, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/500 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2014-01-01 3:34
Viewed: 2157
Points: 40
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Dear TN Friends,

The Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus) is a passerine bird. It is a large tyrant flycatcher; sometimes its genus Pitangus is considered monotypic, with the Lesser Kiskadee (P. lictor) separated in Philohydor.

It breeds in open woodland with some tall trees, including cultivation and around human habitation, from the Lower Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas and northern Mexico south to Uruguay, but also it occurs all over Brazil (specially the central and south-southeastern regions), Paraguay and central Argentina, the Guyana coastline, and on Trinidad. It was introduced to Bermuda in 1957, and to Tobago in about 1970.

Adult Great Kiskadees are one of the largest of the tyrant flycatchers. They can measure from 21 to 27 cm in length and weigh 52 to 68 g. The head is black with a strong white eyestripe and a concealed yellow crown stripe. The upperparts are brown, and the wings and tail are brown with usually strong rufous fringes.

The black bill is short and thick. The similar Boat-billed Flycatcher (Megarynchus pitangua) has a massive black bill, an olive-brown back and very little rufous in the tail and wings. A few other tyrant flycatchers some not very closely related share a similar color pattern, but these species are markedly smaller.

The call is an exuberant BEE-tee-WEE, and the bird has an onomatopoeic name in different languages and countries: In Brazil its popular name is bem-te-vi and in Spanish-speaking countries it is often bien-te-veo ("I see you well!") and sometimes shortened to benteveo.

The Great Kiskadee is a common, noisy and conspicuous bird. It is almost omnivorous, and hunts like a shrike or flycatcher, waiting on an open perch high in a tree to sally out to catch insects in flight, or to pounce upon rodents and similar smallvertebrates. It will also take prey and some fruit from vegetation by gleaning and jumping for it or ripping it off in mid-hover, and occasionally dives for fish or tadpoles in shallow water, making it one of the few fishing passerines.

They like to hunt on their own or in pairs, and though they might be expected to make good use of prey flushed by but too large for the smaller birds of the understory, they do not seem to join mixed-species feeding flocks very often. When they do, they hunt in the familiar manner. Such opportunistic feeding behavior makes it one of the commonest birds in urban areas around Latin America; its flashy belly and its shrill call make it one of the most conspicuous.

The nest, built by both sexes in a tree or telephone pole, is a ball of sticks with a side entrance. The typical clutch is two or three cream eggs lightly blotched with reddish brown. They are incubated by the female.

This alert and aggressive bird has a strong and maneuverable flight, which it uses to good effect when it feels annoyed by raptors. Even much larger birds are attacked by the Great Kiskadee, usually by diving down or zooming straight at them while they are in mid-air. Harsh calls are also often given during these attacks, alerting all potential prey in the area of the predator's presence. If not very hungry, any raptor subject to a Great Kiskadee's mobbing behavior is likely to leave, as it is wellnigh impossible to make a good catch when subject to the tyrant flycatcher's unwelcome attention. In general, avian predators are liable to steer clear of an alert Great Kiskadee, lest their hunting success be spoiled, and will hunt the Great Kiskadee itself though it is as meaty as a fat thrush only opportunistically.

To mammalian and squamate predators that can sneak up to nesting or sleeping birds, it is more vulnerable however. Even omnivorous mammals as small as the Common Marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) will try to plunder Great Kiskadee nests at least during the dry season when fruits are scarce despite the birds' attempts to defend their offspring. One of two birds studied in the Parque Nacional de La Macarena of Colombia was parasitized by microfilariae.

The bright coloration of the Great Kiskadee makes it easy to recognize and as noted above, is shared by several other more or less closely related Tyrannidae. It is not known whether this apparent convergent evolution is a case of mimicry, and if so, whether the Great Kiskadee's pugnaciousness encourages some predators to leave birds with such colors well alone. Given that some Tyrannidae are alleged to taste bad, the color may also be an aposematicwarning of noxious chemicals contained in the birds' meat. In a peculiar coincidence, the Foxface Rabbitfish (Siganus vulpinus) and related species have evolved a strikingly similar coloration and pattern; here it is almost certain that the colors are aposematic, as these fishes use a poisonous sting to defend themselves.

Not being appreciated as a songbird, the Great Kiskadee is not usually kept caged and therefore has escaped the depredations of poaching for the pet trade. Also, its feeding mostly on live prey makes it extremely difficult to keep in captivity. It is not considered threatened by the IUCN.

Source: Wikipedia

Hotelcalifornia, Miss_Piggy, Alex99, marius-secan, CeltickRanger, imageme has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello Mr.Peter,
Wish you and your family a Prosperous Happy New Year too.Wish in this year we all will be safe and happy.
Beautiful bird.I like the way you have presented it.Nice colour and sharpness with attractive eye contact.
Thanks for sharing,
Regards and have a nice day,

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2014-01-01 5:36]

thanks, wish the same to you...
Very colorful portrait of this lovely bird..simple and beautiful. tfs.

Ciao Peter, great capture of lovely bird in nice pose omn beaiutiful blurry BG, wonderful natural colorsfine details and splendid sharpness, very well done, my friend, Happy New Year, ciao Silvio

Hallo Peter
What a colourful, and beautiful bird. I think the composition and framing are excellent. I love the pose you have captured here. An excellent note on this. Thanks it is much appreciated.
Best regards.

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2014-01-01 6:44]

Hi Peter,a very nice face to face with this tender beauty,a great way to stat the new year gallery,top quality pic with a very bright Yellow and perfect details too.Have a nice evening and thanks,Luciano

Hello Peter,
Excellent image of this Kiskadee,in fine details and beautiful colours.

Hello Peter
Wonderful image, great pose you captured with perfect sharpness and colour.
Best wishes.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2014-01-01 7:18]

Hi Peter.
Best New Year wishes to you too. What a cute bird and lovely pose as well as charming subject at whole. Exposure of the bird;s feathers are stunning, colours are fantastic and composition I blameless. Bravo.

Hello Peter,
Once again a wonderful image taken from a very good angle and POV. Exceptional details and depth of field. You managed perfect this composition with a superb colorful bird.....
Thanks for sharing! HAPPY NEW YEAR AND PROSPERITY IN 2014!!!

Ciao Peter. Fantastic colours here and very good details for the small coloured one in great pose. Happy new Year MF.


Hallo Peter
Hij kijkt je wel erg goed aan ,super mooi
Goed van scherpte en prachtige kleuren ,het geel springt er uit
Ik heb deze ook gezien terwijl hij aan het jagen was op insecten en steeds weer op zijn plek terug kwam
bedankt weer
gr lou

  • Great 
  • cloud Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 497 W: 111 N: 1535] (9539)
  • [2014-01-01 10:36]

Hello Peter,
Yours photos of the birds are always perfect and this is very good. I wish you and your family good health and prosperity in the coming New Year.
Regards, Pawel

  • Great 
  • iti Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 577 W: 0 N: 650] (7939)
  • [2014-01-01 11:02]

Hi Peter,
Nice photo of this beautiful bird. Amazing colors
and sharpness details. Excellent composition.
Happy New Year 2014.
Regards Jiri.

  • Great 
  • pirate Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 799 W: 152 N: 1186] (7474)
  • [2014-01-01 11:22]

Hi Peter
same to you, good health and great picture
Nice portrait with just perfect bg

Hello Peter

Happy New Year also for you and your family.
Excellent close-up photo of this South American bird,
fine frontal POV obtaining its eye-contact, beautiful light,
excellent focus, sharpness, and details, TFS


Hello Mr.Peter,
照的清晰 很漂亮的鳥
羽毛的顏色非常亮麗也非常的細膩 鮮豔華麗
光線亮麗 整體清楚 眼睛最可愛的表情 真是漂亮的相片
構圖美麗 背景深遂

Another great bird Peter! Impressive photo as usually! Very good composition, wonderful BG, fantastic colours and very good sharpness!
My best wishes for the New Year!

  • Great 
  • hsn6a Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 160 W: 0 N: 435] (8652)
  • [2014-01-02 2:06]

Hello Peter,
good bird picture,
happy new year!!regards..

Hi Peter, Lovely bird with perfect focus and good DOF. The whole frame looks elegant and joyful. Thank for sharing and Happy New Year

Lovely bird and lovely shot Peter.

Thank you.

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