Oklahoma State Bird

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Oklahoma state bird: Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Tyrannus forficatus

Oklahoma State Bird Description:

  • Size: 9 to 15 inches (22 - 37 cm)
  • Wingspan: 14 - 21.5 inches (34 - 53 cm)
  • Weight: 1.27 to 1.98 ounces (36- 56 g)

The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher is a medium-sized songbird. The upperparts and breast are pale grayish-white and the head is nearly all white. The sides and under tail are bright salmon-pink. Its forked tail is very long, in fact, it is longer than the body. The tail is black and white. The legs, eyes and bill are all black.

The male and female are similar. The females are paler, with less intense pink, and a shorter tail.


The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher prefers open country. They can be found perched on fence posts or utility wires along the road, ranches, fields, parks and farms with scattered trees and shrubs.


The breeding range is from southeastern Colorado to southern Nebraska and central Missouri, southward to southeastern New Mexico, Texas, and western Louisiana, into northeastern Mexico.

The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher spends winters in Central America, southern Mexico and southern Florida.


The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher captures its food on the wing. It will also grab insects off of vegetation. It eats insects, especially grasshoppers, crickets, and beetles.


The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher builds its nest in small isolated trees or large shrubs. It is a bulky nest built with sticks and lined with soft fibrous materials.

The clutch size is from 3 to 5 white eggs blotched with brown. The incubation period is 14 days and the young leave the nest in about two weeks.

A Few Things You Probably Didn't Know About the Oklahoma State Bird:

  • The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher has been known to stray far from its normal range, and has been spotted as far north as South Dakota.
  • In late summer, the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher will form large, premigratory flocks of up to 1,000 birds.
  • The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher has been know to use many human products for nest construction including, cloth, paper, carpet yarn, string and even cigarette filters.

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