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Tyrant Flycatchers: Tyrannidae - Diet

food ground eat perch

Tyrant flycatchers are insectivores, eating mainly insects. However, certain species also eat berries, fruit, caterpillars, and worms. Some of the larger species eat small fish, frogs, lizards, and even mice or small birds, in addition to insects. Flycatchers' bills are adapted to the type of food they eat. The larger the food, the larger and stronger the bill must be. Bigger birds may beat their food against a branch until it is dead, then hold it down with one foot while pulling it apart with their bill.

When hunting for food, most tyrant flycatchers sit on a perch above the ground and remain still until they see an insect. They then fly out and snap the insect out of the air. As their bill closes, it makes clicking sound loud enough to be heard by human observers. The bird then returns either to the same or a different perch and waits for the next insect. This type of feeding is called hawking. Some tyrant flycatchers such as phoebes (FEE-beez) eat insects, caterpillars, and worms off the ground. These birds sit on a low perch until they see their prey, then fly down to the ground to pick it up, and return to a perch. They do not walk or hop along the ground hunting for food.

Tyrant Flycatchers: Tyrannidae - Behavior And Reproduction [next] [back] Tyrant Flycatchers: Tyrannidae - Physical Characteristics

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