The Great Kiskadee Flycatcher is a very conspicuous bird with its yellow chest, black and white face, and particular call and mob-like behaviour.
The Great Kiskadee’s name is derived from the peculiar sound it makes – a high pitched shrill that sounds like“kis-ka-dee” which is the easiest way to distinguish it from the two very similar species: social flycatcher and boat billed flycatcher which make shorter less melodic chirps and squawks.
It grows up to 10 inches and has a black head with a strong white eye strip as well as a concealed yellow crown and a bright yellow chest and underside. Its hunting behavior is like a shrike waiting on a perch and swooping down on flies, bees, wasps, moths and beetles as well as some lizards, frogs, mice and fish.
The Great Kiskadee’s habitat ranges from southern Texas straight through Argentina in streamside thickets, orchards, groves, parks and woodlands. Among its particularities is its aggressive and territorial nature, often times seen attacking larger birds and able to elude raptors by easily maneuvering through the air with agility and precision. They tend to hunt in pairs or in small groups; this mobbing behavior not only leads to increased success in the hunt but also discourages predators from preying on them.
Photography by Naturalist Guide Meshack Eliah.