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Oklahoma's Tropical Ambassador

The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

GIF - Cover Picture of Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
1801 N. Lincoln
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
(405)521-3853


Introduction

From its long tail to its famous "sky dance," no other Oklahoma bird is more striking and identifiable than the scissor-tailed flycatcher. No wonder the State Legislature adopted the scissortail as the state bird May 26, 1951, after school children discovered enormous support from garden clubs and Audubon Society chapters. The selection is even more special because none of the other seven states in which scissortails nest have named it as their state bird.

The scissor-tailed flycatcher is known by other names as well-scissortail, Texas bird-of-paradise and swallowtailed flycatcher. It is obvious how the bird acquired its common names, but its former Latin name-Muscivora forficata-describes the bird in even grander terms. Muscivora derives from the Latin word for "fly" (musca) and "to devour" (vorare), while forficata comes from forfex, or scissors. The scissortail now is a member of the genus Tyrannus, or "tyrant-like flycatchers." This genus earned its name because several species are extremely aggressive on their breeding territories, where they will attack larger birds such as crows, hawks and owls.


This resource is based on the following source:
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.  No Date.  Oklahoma's tropical
     ambassador -- The scissor-tailed flycatcher.  Oklahoma Department of 
     Wildlife Conservation, Oklahoma City, OK.
This resource should be cited as:
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.  No Date.  Oklahoma's tropical
     ambassador -- The scissor-tailed flycatcher.  Oklahoma Department of 
     Wildlife Conservation, Oklahoma City, OK.  Jamestown, ND: Northern 
     Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/birds/okscisso/index.htm
     (Version 16JUL97).

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