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Tyrannus savana

Fork-tailed Flycatcher

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Tyrannidae
  • Polytypic 4 Subspecies

Authors: Jahn, A.E., and D.T. Tuero


The Americas

Breeding distributions of the four subspecies of Fork-tailed Flycatcher are as follows:

· monachus (Hartlaub 1844): Southern Mexico and Belize to Colombia, Venezuela, and several offshore islands, Surinam and north-central Brazil (Teul et al. 2007, Mobley 2004).

· sanctaemartae (Zimmer 1937): Northern Colombia and northwestern Venezuela (Mobley 2004).

· circumdatus (Zimmer 1937): Northern Brazil (eastern Amazonas and Pará and Amapá states; Mobley 2004).

· savana (Vieillot 1808): Central and southern Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina (south to the Río Negro; Ridgely and Tudor 1994, Mobely 2004, Marini et al. 2009). Overwinters in Amazonia, a large portion of northern South America (i.e., within the Orinoco River Basin; Jahn et al. 2013), and Trinidad and Tobago, occasionally appearing in the West Indies (Ridgely and Tudor 1994).

Vagrants of the nominate subspecies, and to a lesser extent the subspecies monachus, occur regularly in North America (McCaskie and Patten 1994, Shepherd and Smith 1996). Most of these vagrant sightings occur in fall (September-November) with a lesser number in spring and early summer (May-June)g (McCaskie and Patten 1994).

Outside the Americas

Endemic to the Americas. 


Fork-tailed Flycatcher usually occurs below 1000 m (but can occur up to 2600 m; Hilty and Brown 1986), occupying a variety of open habitats, including forest edge, secondary vegetation, savanna, pastures, residential areas, lawns, woodland, cerrado, and mangroves (Mobley 2004, Marini et al. 2009). In central Brazil, Marini et al. (2009) found that it prefers to nest in more open cerrado habitats rather than more closed cerrado with higher tree densities. During migration can be found in a wide variety of habitats, including tall humid forest canopy (Mobley 2004).

Historical changes

None reported. 

Fossil history

None reported. 

Recommended Citation

Jahn, A.E., and D.T. Tuero. 2013. Fork-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus savana), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

This map is based on maps available from the NatureServe InfoNatura website, for the distribution in Central America and/or Caribbean, and on a map provided by Robert S. Ridgely, for the South American distribution.

The data for the InforNatura maps are provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE.