This resident of Trinidad is found at forest edges and semi-open areas with large trees. They perch high on the interior branches of large open trees. They do not remain long in any single location and wander widely in pairs or in family groups of three to five. Young Boat-billed Fly-catchers remain with their parents for months, after they have become able to fend for themselves.
Their diet is principally composed of insects, especialy cicadas that they catch amid the foliage or on the bark of the trees. They use a sally-strike technique to snap the prey while they are in flight. When the prey is caught, it is carried to a perch and beaten against the perch. After beating the prey on one side, the bird turns it in its bill by loosening its grip at the same time that it gives the insect a slight toss, then seizes it in a different position and beats it until it has been thoroughly pounded on all sides. After pounding both sides the bird then swallows the prey. They will occasionally perch or hover to take fruit and use the same pounding technique before swallowing the fruit.
Skutch states that "Toucans, more than any other predators, seem to be the reason for the almost constant guard which Boat-billed Flycatchers keep over their eggs and nestlings. The Boat-billed Flycatchers do not wait for the toucans to approach their nests but as a rule go forth to meet them while they are still a long way off and then continue to harry them until they return to the shelter of the forest. So long as the toucans remain perching, the flycatchers, fearing the long, mobile bills, do not attack them, but when the great-beaked bird is on the wing it can not defend its back, and this is the flycatcher's opportunity. Often the bold bird pounces upon the back of the flying toucan. It is careful to separate from the big toucan before he regains a perch where he could turn his bill backward with disastrous consequences to the far smaller flycatcher."
Family - Flycatchers
Other Names - Broad-billed Kiskadee
Latin Name - Megarynchus pitangua
Range - Mexico south to Argentina including Trinidad
Photograph by James Wood
Birds of Venezuela. Steven L. Hilty. 2003, Christopher Helm, London
A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago. 2nd edition, Richard ffrench. 1992, Helm, LondonAlexander F. Skutch 1951. Life History Of The Boat-Billed Flycatcher. The Auk Vol. 68
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