What Animal Is It?

An Amazonian flycatcher (Onychorhynchus coronatus) to celebrate Amazon Day
Source: Tom Ambrose

Today is Amazon Day and The Nature Nook will be releasing a number of Amazon-related articles. Just to clarify, we aren’t celebrating the world’s largest online marketplace – but we are celebrating the world’s largest rainforest. Today’s What Animal Is It? features a bird that not only lives in the Amazon, but – potential spoilers ahead – also has the word ‘Amazon’ in its name. It is a member of a family of birds called the tyrant flycatchers, which occur throughout North and South America. This is the biggest family of birds in the world, with more than 400 species. As the name implies, the majority of tyrant flycatchers are entirely insectivorous (though they do not necessarily specialise in flies), while the ‘tyrant’ part comes from the noisy, aggressively territorial behaviour of some species in the group.

This particular member of the tyrant flycatcher family is known as the Amazonian royal flycatcher. The most identifiable feature of this species is that incredible fan of feathers on its head. Both sexes possess them: the male’s, as seen above, typically has fiery orange-red feathers, while the female’s are usually yellow.

Most of the time, though, the Amazonian royal flycatcher keeps its crest flat on its head. When it is concealed like this, the flycatcher looks like an ordinary brown little bird. Only when it is displaying or behaving aggressively – such as when it is handled by humans – does the bird’s crown unfurl, revealing that spectacular semi-circle of elongated feathers. The effect is enhanced even more when the flycatcher sways its head and slowly opens and closes its bill to reveal a bright orange mouth.

Don’t forget to check out our other blog posts for Amazon Day. I’ve written one on the devastating fires that spread through the Amazon rainforest last year, while Alex – being the avid parrot fan that she is – has been looking at some Amazonian parrots and why they are drawn to certain riverbanks.


  • Jason Woodcock

    With a background in conservation and animal behaviour studies, Jason's passion lies in the natural world. He adores all things nature and enjoys nothing more than spotting rare and interesting species out in the wild. He has also worked in a zoo and knows plenty about keeping the animals inside our homes healthy and happy, too.

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  1. Pingback: Rainbow Cliffs: Why Parrots in the Amazon Eat Clay - The Nature Nook

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