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Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
Photo Information
Copyright: Ken Slade (Ken52) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 636 W: 93 N: 1243] (4195)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-05-14
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon 350D (Digital Rebel XT), Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM, 58mm circular polarizer
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/800 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): 40-49 points, 70-79 Puntos (chapter 2), Birds / Aves, 80-89 Points I, Karatash's other favorite -I-, Eliz strange, exotic or little known species - 1 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-05-23 12:17
Viewed: 5819
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 86
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Another butterfly series soon, but I want to move on to other things for now.

One of my favorite birds to watch is the acrobatic Scissor-tail Flycatcher. It is a beautiful bird with understated colors when perched. Only in flight can one appreciate it's real beauty. It is a spirited defender of it's territory against crows, hawks, etc. Gregarious in non-breeding season, the male performs acrobatic "sky dance" during courtship which sometimes even includes a few reverse summersaults in mid-air.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus)

There is almost no mistaking the scissor-tailed flycatcher. The male’s nine-inch-long tail and the female’s slightly shorter one proclaim their identity whether seen in good light or in silhouette, flying or perched. Except for the fork-tailed flycatcher of the American tropics (an extremely rare vagrant north of the Mexican border), no other North American bird has such a long, narrow tail compared with its body size.

Pale gray is the scissortail’s predominant color, approaching white on the face and breast. The wings are blackish, the tail black and white. Scarlet “armpits” are mostly concealed while the bird is perched, and a scarlet crown patch is almost always hidden. The flanks and belly are flushed salmon pink, which can vary in brightness from individual to individual.

The migratory scissor-tailed flycatcher breeds from extreme northeastern Mexico (generally within a short distance of the Texas border) north through southeastern New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, extreme southeastern Colorado, most of Kansas, western Missouri, Arkansas, and much of western and northern Louisiana.

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. Scissortails have successfully nested in western Tennessee several times since 1983.

Look for scissortails in nearly any kind of open country with scattered trees, such as prairies, pastures, cropland, and even residential areas with large, open lots. The song is a low-pitched pidik pek pik pik pidEEK. Its common call is a low, flat pik, also pik-prrr or a higher, sharp kid.

Source: http://www.birdwatchersdigest.com/site/backyard_birds/bird_id/scissortailed_flycatcher.aspx

Aperture = f5.6
Shutter = 800s
ISO = 400
Focal Length = 300mm
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens

JoseMiguel, jaycee, uleko, lawhill, nglen, pirate, star74, Argus, GLEM, Juyona, Silvio2006, Tamrock, delic, jmirah, JPlumb, Debz, pilonm, jmp, mikou, vanderschelden, scottevers7, bobair, Alex99, SkyF, Perro, snowfalken, earthtraveler has marked this note useful
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Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To snowfalken: ThanksKen52 1 06-14 18:34
To PeterZ: How so close?Ken52 1 05-23 22:37
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Ken,
A very impressive capture!
I like so much the sharpness of this image, got magnificent details on the bird, so lovelys.
Very good the soft background got.
You made and excellent composition with the long tail aligned in the same direction than the branch.
Congratulations and thanks for share it.
My best regards,

  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2007-05-23 12:29]

Hi Ken,
Superb portrait of the scissor-tailed flycatcher. Lovely colours and very sharp details. Excellent POV and DOF and good eye contact. I like the glint in its eyes and the pose. Marvellous tail and the daigonal composition looks great. Kudos.

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2007-05-23 13:01]

Hello Ken,
What a brilliant capture of this wonderful bird! I love its colours and the long tail and your composition is superb showing sharp details and a very nice soft background too.
Many thanks and regards, ULla

Nice shoot, TFS.

Hello Ken
Great portrait nicely frame, very colorful and sharp, perfect BG, well done TFS Lawhill

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2007-05-23 14:50]
  • [+]

Hello Ken,
Very beautiful photo of this Flycatcher. Sharp with a lot of details. Great composition with the tail and colours. How can you coe so close with a 300 mm?
Good eye-contact.

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2007-05-23 15:01]

Hi Ken. what a cute bird. you have captured it well. a very nice POV and DOF. with good focus and colours.all on a nice background. well done TFS. good notes to.

  • Great 
  • pirate Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 799 W: 152 N: 1186] (7474)
  • [2007-05-23 15:22]

Nice bird captured with a great compo with wonderfull blured BG, nice flashlight in the eye.

  • Great 
  • marcin Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 138 W: 0 N: 268] (2057)
  • [2007-05-23 15:27]

hello Ken
Beautiful photo and beautiful bird,
well done

  • Great 
  • star74 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 211 W: 3 N: 598] (2474)
  • [2007-05-23 15:41]

Hi Ken,
Wonderful shot of this interesting bird.
The colors,pose,details and sharpness are superb.

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2007-05-23 15:43]

Hello Ken,
You captured a real beauty here. Everything is right about this Scissor-tail Flycatcher portrait: the sharpness, pleasing neutral BG, lighting and composition.
A first class shot!
Well done and TFS!

  • Great 
  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2007-05-23 16:05]

Hola amigo,
bella captura,
nitidez y detalles estupendos,
buen pov,

Ciao Ken, splendid bird, I never see before, thanks, great pose and lovely blurry BG, wonderful details, excellent light and colors, very well done, ciao Silvio

hi ken!
this one i really like!
beautiful bird with good sharpness
and very nice composition!
very good!

Ah the elusive scissor-tail. I've tried getting them to sit still for photos to no avail. Mean little boogers, ain't they?
Great photo - good, clear, clean and crisp. Wonderful composition with his little head turned looking over that great long scissor tail. ANOTHER GOOD ONE!!!!!!!

  • Great 
  • delic Gold Star Critiquer [C: 440 W: 6 N: 310] (898)
  • [2007-05-23 16:55]

Hello Ken,
Lovely bird. Composition is perfect with the long tail filling the frame towards the diagonal. Beautiful colors and background. Regards,

  • Great 
  • jossim Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1538 W: 5 N: 2240] (12636)
  • [2007-05-23 21:17]

Superbe composition,la pose et l«,oiseau sont extras.
Bravo pour la qualité.

  • Great 
  • jmirah Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 509 W: 5 N: 1141] (4687)
  • [2007-05-23 21:38]

Another great post, as always...fantastic pose, color, clarity and detail...A perfect BG...

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-05-23 22:14]

Hello Ken

A beautiful shot of this scissor tailed flycatcher.Wow quite the long tail on this bird.You have captured it well with very good POV and DOF.The focus is very good with excellent details.TFS


  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2007-05-23 23:45]

What a beauty, Ken.
That long tail is really impressive.
And what a fantastic composition.
Such delicate colors and sharp details.
TFS. : )

Hi Ken, excellent sharp detail on this one. I've never seen this bird before, you've done a great job in presenting it for us. The composition with him stretching corner to corner and your use of your depth of field are excellent.

Thanks, John

Wow Ken,
What a truly amazing looking bird. I has such pretty colour on it underside. Your image is just perfect with a lovely colourful background colour. The detail in the bird can be seen so well and your note is very informative. Great.

  • Great 
  • GLEM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 540 W: 87 N: 750] (10)
  • [2007-05-24 4:42]

Bonjour Ken,
waooo aujourd'hui nous sommes voisins sur TN, c'est vraiment un sacré hasard :D
Superbe image, c'est parfaitement réalisé. Couleurs et lumière sont extra.


  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2007-05-24 10:10]

Hi Ken,

Beautiful photo of a beautiful bird. He has a magnificent face!! The colors and detail are marvelous. Wonderful pose and bg.


  • Great 
  • Debz Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 505 W: 0 N: 847] (3307)
  • [2007-05-24 13:44]

Hi Ken, a beautiful composition of this elegant bird. The tail is fabulous. the POV could not be better with the bird looking at your lens. Your perfect DOF makes it pop the bird to the front of the frame. Excellent colour, light and sharpness.

  • Great 
  • pilonm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 588 W: 90 N: 975] (3321)
  • [2007-05-24 17:11]

Hello Ken,

WOW! What a wonderful picture describing a so splendid bird!!! You did a great composition by having the tail going right to the lower right corner like that! The pose of the bird is great too and the great bg compliments so well the fly-catcher. The DOF is right on the spot with a good choice for the aperture of f/5.6!!!

Great job and TFS,


  • Great 
  • jmp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1659 W: 95 N: 2273] (8415)
  • [2007-05-24 17:46]

Hi Ken,
What a cute bird. Great pose, composition, background and of course a really nice bird.
TFS, José m.

  • Great 
  • mikou Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 869 W: 68 N: 1479] (6093)
  • [2007-05-24 18:08]

Hi Ken.
Great composition with diagonalle position of this amazing bird with very very long tail and very good your used POV.Beautiful pallete colors on plumage of this bird and superb nuances colors on blurry BG too.I like your very informative note.Excellent work!Thanks for sharing.
Best greetings Milos.

I like their photos are good material thanks to show to good things a greeting pedro

Muy buenas Ken
Toda una preciosidad de ave la que nos muestras y por cierto bien captura, mis felicitaciones.
Un saludo

Hi Ken,
Good image, Ken, especially in terms of compo, background and the bird itself. The latter is a beauty.

bonjour ken
houas,cet oisea uest magnifique et je vous felicite pour avoir reussi a l'avoir en entier.
bonne netteté et details.

great portrait, TFS Ori

Hi Ken,
That is an awesome shot. Great frame filling composition. Soft light and a good exposure have the colors and detail of the plumage looking excellent. A well controled DOF has a great OOF backround. Nice camera work!

Hi Ken,
this bird is lovely and it doesn't need to be flight to show that.Like the magpie this bird has a very long tail and it is so nice to see.I would have something to say about the technical details but I don't know this bird at all and what I see is perfect in every way and I must thank you for letting the world see this one. Bob

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2007-05-27 15:22]

Hi Ken.
I like how well your brilliant butterfly series is changing on bird pictures. You managed to present this cute bird as artistically as butterflies were. Amazing details of the bird and terrific BG. Great combination that testifies your skillfulness. Bravo and my congratulations.

This is a GREAT picture Ken!!! What an amazing composition and beautiful specie! This is really amazing! Exposure, details and colors are perfect and you managed so well with this white. A warm congratulation for this little work of art! Thanks,

  • Great 
  • SkyF Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2234 W: 188 N: 1912] (8073)
  • [2007-06-01 21:28]

Hi Ken,
wonderful shot, never seen this bird before so this is quite interesting for me.
Excellent composition, I like how the bird stretches diagonal across the canvas. Wonderful neutral BG that shows off the perfectly without any distraction.
DOF, sharpenss and colors are wonderful.

  • Great 
  • Perro Silver Star Critiquer [C: 41 W: 0 N: 59] (553)
  • [2007-06-04 17:30]

Hello Ken,
A fantastic capture of this magnificient bird!
The sharpness of this image is impeccable.
Great details on the bird.
I like so much the composition with the long tail filling the frame towards the diagonal.
Colors and background are superb.
Congradulations Ken! It's an artistic work.
My best regards,

Hi Ken
It's new for me this very nice species. Superbly composed with correct exposure, beautiful colours and sharpness.
We have a species very similar in shape in Argentina (Tyrannus savanna), there are some in Argentina and Brazil galleries but not in mine. We call them "tijeretas" something like "scissors" in english.
Best regards

Hello Ken,

How beautiful! I find it difficult to compose a picture with birds that have such a long tail! You were lucky the Flycatcher turned its head backwards so you were able to capture such a nice pose.


Very well done with perfectly distributed empty space. The bird is looking back to the center of the image and into the big empty area. The background is perfect for this shot as it makes the subject stand out easily. I love the simplicity of this composition where no distracting objects are allowed! Great eye-contact too!


The colors look natural and are well saturated! I love the red-white-black color combination and the green background compliments them very well.


Very good contrast with excellent distribution to put the emphasis on the subject!


You did well on the exposure of this difficult subject! The details were preserved in most areas maybe with an exception of a small area on the bird's neck which look pretty bright on my monitor. This isn't distracting as I'm not even sure it was overexposed or not. It just looks brighter than the whites around it!


Focus was achieved perfectly on the subject while controlling the DOF perfectly! The details are sharp and look great on the defocused background!

A wonderful capture of a beautiful bird! Very good artistic and technical value! Great job! Thanks for sharing!

With Friendly Regards,

Great shot Ken!
Well done all around.
Being a birder I'd love to come upon this bird.
Hope I have my camera also.

Hi Ken,
Very nice image.


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