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Oklahoma State Bird – Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher - Tyrannus forficatus - also known as the Texas bird-of-paradise and the swallow-tailed flycatcher is a long-tailed insectivorous bird. The scissor-tailed flycatcher is found in North and Central America. It is the state bird of Oklahoma. They form large pre-migratory roosts in late summer, with up to 1,000 birds in one flock.


Adult birds have pale gray heads and upper parts, light underparts, salmon-pink flanks, and dark gray wings. Their extremely long, forked tails, which are black on top and white on the underside, are characteristic and unmistakable. The male’s tail is longer than the female’s. Immature birds are duller in color and have shorter tails.


The call is a sharp bik or pup, also chattering notes while the song is a sharp and raspy "pup, peroo," given when perched or during display flight.


Insects, especially grasshoppers, crickets, beetles and a few berries.


Their breeding habitat is open shrubby country with scattered trees. The male performs a spectacular aerial display during courtship with his long tail forks streaming out behind him. They build a cup nest in isolated trees or shrubs, sometimes using artificial sites. Clutches contain three to six white eggs with dark markings around large end... Both parents feed the young.

Conservation Status – Least Concern

Over the past few decades the scissortail has expanded its range significantly. In Missouri the species has moved north to, and even beyond, the Missouri River. Its Arkansas range has moved northeastward across the state toward the Mississippi River. In Louisiana the scissortail has moved eastward from the Red River area across the northern part of the state nearly to the Mississippi.

Bird watching

It is common in Oklahoma and only a handful of other states. Look for scissor-tails in nearly any kind of open country with scattered trees, such as prairies, pastures, cropland, and even residential areas with large, open lots.

Oklahoma Hotspots


Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Ouachita National Forest

Red Slough Wetlands

Sanborne Lake

Keystone Lake

Kaw Lake

Prairie and Crosstimbers

Sooner Lake

Gold Treasure NWR

Wildlife of OG&E’s Konawa Reservoir and Recreation Area

Deep Fork NWR

Little River NWR

Optima NWR

Ozark Plateau NWR

Salt Plains NWR

Sequoyah NWR

Tishomingo NWR

Washita NWR

Tallgrass Prairie Preserve

Black Mesa Preserve

Arkansas River Least Tern Preserve

Redbud Valley Natural Area 

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