File:Masked Tityra 2.jpg
Tityra semifasciata
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Tityridae
Genus: Tityra
Vieillot, 1816

3-4, see text

The tityras are passerine birds in the genus Tityra of the family Tityridae. They are found from southern Mexico, through Central America, to northern and central South America, including Trinidad.

These are medium-sized birds, typically around 20–25 centimetres (7.9–9.8 in) long, with large bills. The adult males are greyish-white above and white below, except for the wings and tail which are at least partially black. The males of all three species also have black head markings. The females are similar, but are duller, with browner or greyer head markings. The Black-tailed and the Masked Tityra both have a conspicuous red eye-ring and base of the bill.


These species are found in forest clearings and edges, second growth and other semi-open habitats such as plantation shade trees. The eggs are laid in a bed of dry leaves in a tree hole, often an old woodpecker nest. The female incubates alone, but both parents feed the chicks. Fledging takes up to 25 days.

Tityras are seen alone or in pairs, perched conspicuously as they feed on medium-sized fruits, large insects and sometimes small lizards. They have unmusical nasal grunting or buzzing calls.


The tityras have traditionally been placed in the cotinga or the tyrant flycatcher family, but evidence strongly suggest they are better placed in Tityridae, where now placed by SACC.[1] The Black-crowned Tityra is sometimes placed in a separate genus Erator.

Another species, the White-tailed Tityra (Tityra leucura), is generally considered a variant of the Black-crowned Tityra, but recent evidence suggests it may be a valid species restricted to the Brazilian Amazon near the Madeira River.[2]


  1. ^ Adopt the Family Tityridae - South American Classification Committee (2007)
  2. ^ Whittaker, A. (2008). Field evidence for the validity of White-tailed Tityra Tityra leucura Pelzeln, 1868. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 128: 107–113.

Eurasian Spoonbill This article is part of Project Bird Genera, a All Birds project that aims to write comprehensive articles on each genus, including made-up genera.
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