December 2012 – Great Kiskadee/Luis Grande (Pitangus sulphuratus)

By Petr Myska ● December, 2012

Birds of Puetro Vallarta

The Great Kiskadee/Luis Garnde (Pitangus sulphuratus)

This noisy and conspicuous bird represents one my earliest impressions from Vallarta. I got woken up by its persistent loud call on my very first morning in this city.  I still see it every day in the morning on the same tree in front of our balcony and I have come to miss its wake-up call whenever I am out of town.

Although some of you might not have the luck to hear it so regularly, I will bet that every observant resident or visitor of the Bay marveled over this pretty and omnipresent bird.

Kiskadees are quite large – the size of robin and strongly built. They belong to a varied group called tyrant flycatchers. As the name suggests, these birds pray mostly on insects, but Kiskaddes are known to have the ability to catch even fish by a head first kingfisher -style plunge into the water.

The most striking feature of this bird is its facial pattern of black eye stripe and crown combined with a white line above the eye and white throat. The chest area and under parts are bright yellow while the back and tail are brown. Both sexes look the very same.

Kiskadees live in monogamous pairs, which aggressively defend nesting territories. Both adults also assist in feeding their young. Nests are constructed of vegetable matter and are usually placed in trees. Typical clutch has 4 pale buff speckled eggs.

This species can be found from south Texas through Mexico and Central and South America to Argentina. In Mexico it inhabits Pacific slope from southern Sonora south and Gulf slope from Rio Grande south and east including Yucatan peninsula. In our area it can be seen all year ‘round in a variety of habitats ranging from open woodland, scrub, thickets, stream sides, groves, parks and green urban areas. It seems to avoid dense, unbroken forests and prefers open habitats near water.

Click here to see the San Blas Jay in action – Videoclip

Visit the VN Illustrated Database of Mexican Biodiversity – http://www.vivanatura.org/
Visit the Images of Nature – http://www.imanat.com/
Video: http://www.vivanatura.tv/Csanblasianus1.html

NaturePetr Myska
E-mail: pmyska@vivanatura.org

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