Foraging behavior of two tyrant flycatchers in Trinidad: The Great Kiskadee (<em>Pitangus sulphuratus</em>) and Tropical Kingbird (<em>Tyrannus melancholicus</em>)

Main Article Content

Nadira Mathura
Shawn O'Garro
Diane Thompson
Floyd E. Hayes
Urmila S. Nandy

Abstract: We compared the foraging behavior of two large, sympatric flycatchers, the Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus) and Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus), in Trinidad. For each observation of foraging, we recorded or estimated the type of substrate, height class above ground at which foraging occurred, size class of food item captured, and type of prey. The kiskadee foraged more often on the ground and less often in the air than the kingbird, which rarely foraged on the ground. The kiskadee foraged at significantly lower levels than the kingbird. Both species foraged mostly on animal prey with roughly equal frequency. Although a variety of prey sizes were taken, both species foraged primarily on prey < 1 cm long, with no significant difference between the species. 

Keywords: foraging behavior, Pitangus sulphuratus, Trinidad, Tyrannidae, Tyrannus melancholicus

Resumen: Comportamiento de forrajeo de dos tiránidos atrapamoscas: el Cristofué (Pitangus sulphuratus) y el Pitirre Chicharrero (Tyrannus melanocholicus)- Comparamos el comportamiento de forajeo de dos especies grandes de atrapamoscas, el Cristofué (Pitangus sulphuratus) y el Pitirre Chicharrero (Tyrannus melanocholicus), en Trinidad. Para cada observación de forrajeo, registramos o estimamos el tipo de sustrato, clase de altura por encima del suelo en la cual se alimentó, la clase de tamaño de alimento capturado, y el tipo de alimento. El Crisofué se alimentó más frecuentemente en el suelo y menos frecuentemente en el aire que el Pitirre Chicharrero, el cual raramente se alimentó en el suelo. El Cristofué se alimentó a alturas significativamente más menores que el Pitirre Chicharrero. Ambas especies se alimentaron principalmente de presas animales con frecuencia casi igual. Aunque incluyeron alimentos de tamaño variable, ambas especies consumieron principalmente insectos de < 1 cm de longitud, sin una diferencia significativa entre las especies. 

Palabras claves: conducta de forrajeo, Pitangus sulphuratus, Trinidad, Tyrannidae, Tyrannus melancholicus

Abstract 539 | PDF Downloads 532


ANONYMOUS. 2000. Statistix 7 user’s manual. Analytical
Software, Tallahassee, FL.

BENTLEY, L. 1991. Great Kiskadee preying on
mouse. Living World, J. Trin. Tob. Field Nat.
Club 1991-1992:43.

Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus). Birds N. Amer.

1991. Feeding behaviour of the Great Kiskadee,
Pitangus sulphuratus, on fish in Trinidad, West
Indies. Living World, J. Trin. Tob. Field Nat.
Club 1991-1992:42-43.

CINTRA, R. 1997. Spatial distribution and foraging
tactics of tyrant flycatchers in two habitats in the
Brazilian Amazon. Stud. Neotrop. Fauna Environ.

FFRENCH, R. 1991. A guide to the birds of Trinidad
and Tobago. 2nd ed. Cornell University Press,
Ithaca, NY.

FITZPATRICK, J. W. 1980. Foraging behavior of
Neotropical tyrant flycatchers. Condor 82:43-57.

FITZPATRICK, J. W. 1981. Search strategies of tyrant
flycatchers. Anim. Behav. 29:810-821.

GORENA, R. L. 1995. Feeding and nesting ecology
of the Great Kiskadee, Pitangus sulphuratus texanus
(Passeriformes: Tyrannidae) in the lower Rio
Grande Valley, Texas. Unpubl. M. S. thesis, University
of Texas–Pan American, Edinburg, TX.

GORENA, R. L. 1997. Notes on the feeding habits
and prey of adult Great Kiskadees. Bull. Texas
Ornithol. Soc. 30:18-19.

HAYES, F. E. 1992. Intraspecific kleptoparasitism in
the Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus).
Hornero 13:234-235.

HAYES, F. E. 2000. Intraspecific kleptoparasitism in
the Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus).
Pitirre 13:7.

LATINO, S., AND A. BELTZER. 1999. Ecología
trófica del Benteveo Pitangus sulphuratus (Aves:
Tyrannidae) en el valle de inundación del río
Paraná, Argentina. Orsis 14:69-78.

MURPHY, M. T. 1987. The impact of weather on
kingbird foraging behavior. Condor 89:721-730.

PEARSON, D. L. 1971. Vertical stratification of birds
in a tropical dry forest. Condor 73:46-55.

ROSENBERG, G. H. 1990. Habitat specialization and
foraging behavior by birds of Amazonian river
islands in northeastern Peru. Condor 92:427-443.

SKUTCH, A. F. 1954. Life history of the Tropical
Kingbird. Proc. Linn. Soc. New York 63-65:21-

SKUTCH, A. F. 1960. Life histories of Central
American birds II. Pac. Coast Avifauna 34.

STOUFFER, P. C., AND R. T. CHESSER. 1998. Tropical
Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus). Birds N.
Amer. 358:1-18.

ZAR, J. H. 1984. Biostatistical analysis. 2nd ed.
Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ.