Family Tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Least Concern

Fork-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus savana)


French: Tyran des savanes German: Gabelschwanz-Königstyrann Spanish: Tijereta sabanera

Tyrannus savana


, 1802,

#R, Suriname


Traditionally considered closest to T. forficatus (which see). Phylogenetic analyses suggest present species might belong with T. niveigularis species-group (which see), although relationships remain uncertain. Four subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. s. monachus Hartlaub, 1844 – S Mexico (C & S Veracruz, N Oaxaca, NE Chiapas, Tabasco, SW Campeche) S to Colombia (except N, but generally E of Andes S to Meta and Vichada) and much of Venezuela (E to Orinoco Delta, S to N Amazonas and N Bolívar, and several offshore islands); also S Suriname (Sipaliwini) and NC Brazil (Roraima, lower R Negro, perhaps Amapá).
  • T. s. sanctaemartae (J. T. Zimmer, 1937) – N Colombia (Caribbean coastal region and Santa Marta Mts area) and extreme NW Venezuela (NW Zulia).
  • T. s. circumdatus (J. T. Zimmer, 1937) – N Brazil in E Amazonas (occasionally W to Manaus) and Pará and Amapá (S bank R Amazon, islands near Santarém, and both banks of R Tapajós).
  • T. s. savana Daudin, 1802 – C, S & SE Brazil (Rondônia and S Mato Grosso E to Tocantins and S Piauí, S to Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janerio and Rio Grande do Sul), N & E Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina (S to Río Negro, occasionally to NE Chubut and even Patagonia) and Uruguay; S populations migrate N to Colombia, Venezuela, the Guianas and Amazonia.
  • Descriptive notes

    Male 37–40·5 cm, female 28–30 cm (both including tail); 28–30 g (monachus), 27·2–34 g (savana). Male nominate has most... read more


    Generally rather quiet, even during breeding; thin, low-pitched, weak, rather creaky-sounding... read more


    Open terrain, especially pastures or savanna with scattered trees and bushes; also lawns,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Primarily flying insects; considerable quantities of berries and palm fruits also taken outside breeding season. May be observed singly, in... read more


    Breeds Mar–Jun in Costa Rica; Jan–May in Colombia; nests found in Oct in Venezuela (W Apure); Oct–Jan in Argentina. Male... read more


    Resident, nomadic, and partially migratory; migratory in S of range. Movements throughout much of... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common. Widespread within large range. This species’ nomadic nature, coupled with its ability to thrive in a wide range of open... read more

    Recommended citation

    Mobley, J. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2019). Fork-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus savana). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 6 December 2019).