The scissor-tailed flycatcher, also known as the Texas bird-of-paradise or swallow-tailed flycatcher. They derive their name from their mid-air aerobatics were they flare out their tail feathers to look like the blades of a pair of scissors.

I have watched these bird perched on barbed wire fences and telephone lines all of my life. What I have now learned is that they sit patiently on utility lines, treetops and fence lines to watch for insect. When their prey comes close they will suddenly launch into the air making aerial maneuvers that resembles a helicopter. They fly fast, make abrupt turns and sometimes appear to hover in mid-air. Ultimately they are aerial death for flying insects. After they have snatched their prey in midair they return to their perch to wait for their next victim.

Scissor-tailed Flycatchers are a slender, light gray bird with dark wings. Adult birds have an orange shoulder patch and salmon pink flanks and underbellies. These are easily seen in the photos below.

Scissor-tailed migrate into the United Stated in the spring and spend the summer here before returning in the fall. They are primarily seen in Texas and Oklahoma and has been chosen as the state bird of Oklahoma. In addition to Texas and Oklahoma they can be seen in central Arkansas and western Louisiana.

They live in open country areas. Places with scattered trees or utility lines. They are very tolerate of human presence and are frequently seen in towns.

About this Bird

Family: Flycatcher

Location: Spring and summer primarily in Texas and Oklahoma. Fall and winter in Mexico and Central America

Interesting Fact: Males migrate north in late March or early April before the females.

Diet: Insects including flies, grasshoppers, wasps, bees and moths. They also eat caterpillars, spiders and some berries.

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2 thoughts on “Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher – Texas”

  1. Thank you Doug. Will you be travelling soon? Please note our change of address to

    1. Marlene, It is good to hear from you. International travel is off the table for the rest of the year but there is plenty to see here in the states.

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