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Pachyramphus aglaiae

Rose-throated Becard

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Tityridae
  • Polytypic 8 Subspecies

Authors: Greenlaw, Jon S

Pachyramphus aglaiae

Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico; 10 November 2008 © Ed Schneider

For decades, authorities were uncertain whether Rose-throated Becard, along with its closest relatives in the Americas, were cotingids (Cotingidae) or tyrant flycatchers (Tyrannidae). Recent genetic and older morphological evidence agree that becards and their allies share a single, most recent common ancestor among the tyrannoid suboscines and should be in a family of their own. Rose-throated Becard is the only member of the subtropical and tropical family Tityridae that enters the United States as a non-vagrant, where it now occurs irregularly and occasionally breeds in southeastern sections of Arizona and Texas. At the northern edge of its range, it favors wooded riparian habitats dominated by cottonwoods. Elsewhere in its range, which otherwise extends from Mexico to southeastern Costa Rica or western Panama, it is found in a variety of forest types, woodlands, and scrubby second growth in wet and semiarid climates that permit the bird to employ its foliage-sallying, hawking, and fruit-plucking behavior in open or semi-open edge situations. Rose-throated Becards are notable for their bulky, messy, domed nests that are globular or pyriform with an entrance near the bottom. The nests are suspended from the drooping ends of branchlets, often high above the ground. Clutch size varies from three to six eggs. Females alone incubate, but both sexes build nests and feed young. This becard is sexually dimorphic and socially monogamous. The male has a hidden white shoulder patch that it can erect during courtship. He also has a truncated ninth primary as an adult that is functionally mysterious. The species exhibits geographic plumage variation and currently eight subspecies are recognized, two of which reach the United States. Populations of Rose-throated Becard in northern Sonora and the Arizona borderland are migratory, while birds in Texas often occur during winter and the migratory status of that Gulf coastal subspecies is uncertain.

Recommended Citation

Greenlaw, Jon S. 2013. Rose-throated Becard (Pachyramphus aglaiae), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

This map is based on the maps available from the NatureServe InfoNatura website. The data for these 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.

  • Migration/Movement:Complex Migrant
  • Primary Habitat:Gallery forest
  • Foraging Strata:Canopy
  • Foraging Behavior:Sally
  • Diet:Terrestrial invertebrates
  • Sociality:Solitary/Pairs
  • Mating System:Monogamy
  • Nest Form:Pendant
  • Clutch: 3 - 6
  • IUCN Status:Least Concern