Appearance

 

The Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus), formally known as Kiskadee Flycatcher, is a large, big headed bird.

The National Geographic Field Guide to Birds of North America reports the length at 9.75 inches while Peterson's Field Guide to Birds of Texas estimates the length at 10.5 inches.

With a vivid lemon-yellow wing lining, belly & breast, the Kiskadee is identifiable instantly whether in flight or at rest. Its upper brown parts make a good contrast to the yellow under parts, and the reddish brown wings and tail accent the contrast. But its most unique, and some say aggressive feature, is its large, distinctively decorated head.

 

Click on bird to return to Main page

The Head

The head of the Kiskadee resembles a professional football team helmet covered in parallel, contrasting colors.

The basic color of the head is white and the beak is black. But, starting at the beak and extending back on each side of the head is a horizontal black stripe that meets at the back of the head. Extending past the eye, it gives the appearance that the beak is longer and that the bird is hostile. About 1cm above that stripe is another parallel black band beginning at a V in the front of the head above the beak, between the eyes and ending at the back of the head. Crowning the very top of the head is not the basic white color as would be expected, but a football shaped patch of lemon yellow!

So, that beginning at the neck and working up, the colored bands of the Kiskadee's head are white, black, white, black, lemon yellow. Quite impressive!