The Tyranni (suboscines) are a clade of passerine birds that includes more than 1,000 species, the large majority of which are South American. It is named after the type genus Tyrannus.

These have a different anatomy of the syrinx musculature than the oscines (songbirds of the larger suborder Passeri), hence its common name of suboscines. The available morphological, DNA sequence, and biogeographical data, as well as the (scant) fossil record, agree that these two major passerine suborders are evolutionarily distinct clades.

Dusky-capped flycatcher (Myiarchus tuberculifer)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Suborder: Tyranni

(but see text)


According to Sibley and Ahlquist's DNA-DNA hybridization studies[1] the Tyranni can be divided into three infraorders: Acanthisittides, Eurylaimides, and Tyrannides. The first, containing the Acanthisittidae (New Zealand "wrens"), is of disputed position. Current opinion is that they are more likely a very distinct and ancient lineage, and constitute a suborder on their own.

The Eurylaimides contain the Old World suboscines – mainly distributed in tropical regions around the Indian Ocean – and a single American species, the sapayoa:

The former three are usually placed into a distinct superfamily from the pittas, Eurylaimoidea. More recently, as passeriform relationships become better resolved, there is an increasing trend to elevate the Eurylaimides to suborder rank.

The Tyrannides contain all the suboscines from the Americas, except the broad-billed sapayoa:

This group has been separated into three parvorders by Sibley & Ahlquist. However, as indicated above, DNA-DNA hybridization has shown to be not very well suited to reliably resolve the suboscine phylogeny. It was eventually determined that there was a simple dichotomy between the antbirds and allies (tracheophones), and the tyrant-flycatchers and allies.[2] Given that the "parvorder" arrangement originally advanced is certainly obsolete (see e.g. Irestedt et al. 2002 for tracheophone phylogeny) - more so if the Eurylaimides are elevated to a distinct suborder - it would be advisable to rank the clades as superfamilies, or if the broadbill group is considered a separate suborder, as infraorders. In the former case, the name Furnarioidea would be available for the tracheophones, whereas "Tyrannoidea", the "bronchophone" equivalent, has not yet been formally defined.[3] In the latter case, the tracheophones would be classified as "Furnariides",[4] while the Tyrannides would be restricted to the tyrant-flycatchers and other "bronchophone" families.

The tracheophones contain the Furnariidae, Thamnophilidae, Formicariidae (probably including most tapaculos), and Conopophagidae. The tyrant-flycatcher clade includes the namesake family, the Tityridae, the Cotingidae, and the Pipridae.


  • Irestedt, Martin; Fjeldså, Jon; Johansson, Ulf S. & Ericson, Per G.P. (2002): Systematic relationships and biogeography of the tracheophone suboscines (Aves: Passeriformes). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 23(3): 499–512. doi:10.1016/S1055-7903(02)00034-9 (HTML abstract)


  1. ^ DNA and Passerine Classification
  2. ^ A conceivable vernacular name would be "bronchophones". This would parallel the German vernacular names, Luftröhrenschreier (tracheophones) and Bronchienschreier (bronchophones).
  3. ^ And thus should not be used without quotation marks.
  4. ^ See remark at "Tyrannoidea". This peculiarity is explained by the fact that Sibley & Ahlquist's analyses erroneously suggested an overly complex phylogeny for the tracheophones, and a much simpler one for the tyrant-flycatchers and allies.
Azure-breasted pitta

The azure-breasted pitta (Pitta steerii) is a species of bird in the Pittidae family. It is endemic to the islands of Mindanao, Bohol, Leyte and Samar in the Philippines. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests. It is threatened by habitat loss.

Black-and-white becard

The black-and-white becard (Pachyramphus albogriseus) is a species of bird in the family Tityridae. It has traditionally been placed in Cotingidae or Tyrannidae, but evidence strongly suggest it is better placed in Tityridae, where now placed by SACC.

It is found in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.

Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests.

Black-crowned tityra

The black-crowned tityra (Tityra inquisitor) is a medium-sized passerine bird. It has traditionally been placed in the cotinga or the tyrant flycatcher family, but evidence strongly suggest it is better placed in Tityridae, where now placed by SACC.

It is found in Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela.

Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and heavily degraded former forest.

Blue-naped pitta

The blue-naped pitta (Hydrornis nipalensis) is a species of bird in the family Pittidae.

Blue pitta

The blue pitta (Hydrornis cyaneus) is a species of bird in the family Pittidae found in the Indian Subcontinent and Indochina. The species ranges across Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest and subtropical or tropical moist montane forest.


The broadbills are a clade of small passerine birds, Eurylaimidae (named after the type genus Eurylaimus). The Smithornis and Pseudocalyptomena species occur in sub-Saharan Africa; the rest extend from the eastern Himalayas to Indonesia and the Philippines.

The family possibly also includes the sapayoa from the Neotropics and the asities from Madagascar, although many taxonomists now separate each of the three into distinct families.

Dusky broadbill

The dusky broadbill (Corydon sumatranus) is a species of bird in the family Eurylaimidae, the broadbills. It is native to Southeast Asia. It may be slowly declining due to habitat loss, especially from logging, but it has a large enough range that it is still considered to be a least-concern species.This species, like most in its family, is an insectivore.


Formicariidae is a family of smallish passerine birds of subtropical and tropical Central and South America known as formicariids. They are between 10 and 20 cm (4 and 8 in) in length, and are related to the antbirds, Thamnophilidae, and gnateaters, Conopophagidae. This family contains probably (see below) some 12 species in two fairly small genera.

These are forest birds that tend to feed on insects at or near the ground. Most are drab in appearance with shades of (rusty) brown, black, and white being their dominant tones. Compared to other birds that specialize in following ants, this family is the most tied to the ground. The long, powerful legs (which lend the birds a distinctive upright posture) and an essentially vestigial tail aid this lifestyle.

They lay two or three eggs in a nest in a tree, both sexes incubating.


The gnateaters are a bird family, Conopophagidae, consisting of ten small passerine species in two genera, which occur in South and Central America. The family was formerly restricted to the gnateater genus Conopophaga; analysis of mtDNA cytochrome b and NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 sequences (Rice 2005a,b) indicates that the "antpittas" of the genus Pittasoma also belong in this family. The association between this genus and Conopophaga is also supported by traits in their natural history, morphology, and vocalizations (Rice, 2005a). The members of this family are very closely related to the antbirds and less closely to the antpittas and tapaculos. Due to their remote and dim habitat, gnateaters are a little-studied and poorly known family of birds, though they are often sought after by birdwatchers.

Green-backed becard

The green-backed becard (Pachyramphus viridis) is a species of bird in the family Tityridae. It has traditionally been placed in Cotingidae or Tyrannidae, but evidence strongly suggest it is better placed in Tityridae, where now placed by SACC. It often includes the Andean yellow-cheeked becard (Pachyramphus xanthogenys) as a subspecies.

It is found in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Guyana, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela. The green-backed becard's natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest and subtropical or tropical moist montane forest.

List of Thirty Tyrants (Roman)

The Thirty Tyrants (Latin: Tyranni Triginta) were a series of thirty rulers who appear in the Historia Augusta as having ostensibly been pretenders to the throne of the Roman Empire during the reign of the emperor Gallienus.

Given the notorious unreliability of the Historia Augusta, the veracity of this list is debatable; there is a scholarly consensus that the author deliberately inflated the number of pretenders in order to parallel the Thirty Tyrants of Athens.

The Historia actually gives 32 names; however, because the author (who wrote under the name of Trebellius Pollio) places the last two during the reigns of Maximinus Thrax and Claudius II respectively, this leaves thirty alleged pretenders during the reign of Gallienus.

The following list gives the Thirty Tyrants as depicted by the Historia Augusta, along with notes contrasting the Historia Augusta's claims with their actual historical positions:

Notwithstanding the author's pretensions regarding the time during which these persons aspired to the throne, this list includes:

two women and six youths who never claimed imperial dignity

seven men who either certainly or probably never claimed imperial dignity

three probably and two possibly fictitious persons

two pretenders admittedly not contemporary with Gallienus

three pretenders not contemporary with GallienusLeaving nine pretenders roughly contemporary with Gallienus. According to David Magie (the editor of the Loeb Classical Library edition of the Historia Augusta), at least some of these men issued coins.

One-colored becard

The one-colored becard (Pachyramphus homochrous) is a species of bird in the family Tityridae. It has traditionally been placed in Cotingidae or Tyrannidae, but evidence strongly suggest it is better placed in Tityridae, where now placed by SACC.


A passerine is any bird of the order Passeriformes, which includes more than half of all bird species. Sometimes known as perching birds or – less accurately – as songbirds, passerines are distinguished from other orders of birds by the arrangement of their toes (three pointing forward and one back), which facilitates perching, amongst other features specific to their evolutionary history in Australaves.

With more than 140 families and some 6,600 identified species, Passeriformes is the largest order of birds and among the most diverse orders of terrestrial vertebrates. Passerines are divided into three suborders: Acanthisitti (New Zealand wrens), Tyranni (suboscines) and Passeri (oscines).The passerines contain several groups of brood parasites such as the viduas, cuckoo-finches, and the cowbirds. Most passerines are omnivorous, while the shrikes are carnivorous.

The terms "passerine" and "Passeriformes" are derived from the scientific name of the house sparrow, Passer domesticus, and ultimately from the Latin term passer, which refers to sparrows and similar small birds.

Rufous-sided broadbill

The rufous-sided broadbill (Smithornis rufolateralis) is a species of bird in the Eurylaimidae family.

It is sparsely distributed throughout the intra-tropical rainforest of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.


A songbird is a bird belonging to the clade Passeri of the perching birds (Passeriformes). Another name that is sometimes seen as a scientific or vernacular name is Oscines, from Latin oscen, "a songbird". This group contains 5000 or so species found all over the world, in which the vocal organ typically is developed in such a way as to produce a diverse and elaborate bird song.

Songbirds form one of the two major lineages of extant perching birds, the other being the Tyranni, which are most diverse in the Neotropics and absent from many parts of the world. The Tyranni have a simpler syrinx musculature, and while their vocalizations are often just as complex and striking as those of songbirds, they are altogether more mechanical sounding. There is a third perching bird lineage, the Acanthisitti from New Zealand, of which only two species remain alive today.

Some evidence suggests that songbirds evolved 50 million years ago in the part of Gondwana that later became India, Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea and Antarctica, before spreading around the world.

The Stars, Like Dust

The Stars, Like Dust is a 1951 science fiction mystery book by American writer Isaac Asimov.

The book is part of Asimov's Galactic Empire series and takes place before the actual founding of the Galactic Empire, before even Trantor becomes important. It starts with a young man attending the University of Earth. Biron Farrill is the son of the greatest nobleman on the planet Nephelos, one of the Nebula Kingdoms. The story starts with the news that his father has been caught conspiring against the Tyranni.

The Tyranni, who come from the planet Tyrann, rule a minor empire of 50 planets near the Horsehead Nebula. Tyrann suppressed science and space navigation training in the kingdoms to help maintain control over its subject worlds. The ruler of Tyrann in the story is called the "Khan," suggesting that Asimov took the Mongol dominion over the Russian principalities as a model, much as he used the declining Roman Empire for his Foundation series. (See the "Golden Horde" for the real-world history that Asimov drew upon and adapted.)

Asimov once called it his "least favorite novel."


Tityridae is family of suboscine passerine birds found in forest and woodland in the Neotropics. The 45 species in this family were formerly spread over the families Tyrannidae, Pipridae and Cotingidae (see Taxonomy). As yet, no widely accepted common name exists for the family, although tityras and allies and tityras, mourners and allies have been used. They are small to medium-sized birds. Under current classification, the family ranges in size from the buff-throated purpletuft, at 9.5 cm (3.7 in) and 10 grams (0.35 ounces), to the masked tityra, at up to 24 cm (9.5 in) and 88 grams (3.1 ounces). Most have relatively short tails and large heads.

Tyrant flycatcher

The tyrant flycatchers (Tyrannidae) are a family of passerine birds which occur throughout North and South America. They are considered the largest family of birds, with more than 400 species. They are the most diverse avian family in every country in the Americas, except for the United States and Canada. As could be expected from a family this large, the members vary greatly in shape, patterns, size and colors. Some tyrant flycatchers superficially resemble the Old World flycatchers which they are named after but are not related to. They are members of suborder Tyranni (suboscines), which do not have the sophisticated vocal capabilities of most other songbirds.Most, but not all, species are rather plain, with various hues of brown, gray and white commonplace. Obvious exceptions include the bright red vermilion flycatcher, blue, black, white and yellow many-colored rush-tyrant and some species of tody-flycatchers or tyrants, which are often yellow, black, white and/or rufous, from the Todirostrum, Hemitriccus and Poecilotriccus genera. Several species have bright yellow underparts, from the ornate flycatcher to the great kiskadee. Some species have erectile crests. Several of the large genera (i.e. Elaenia, Myiarchus or Empidonax) are quite difficult to tell apart in the field due to similar plumage and some are best distinguished by their voices. Behaviorally they can vary from species such as spadebills which are tiny, shy and live in dense forest interiors to kingbirds, which are relatively large, bold, inquisitive and often inhabit open areas near human habitations. As the name implies, a great majority of tyrant flycatchers are entirely insectivorous (though not necessarily specialized in flies). Tyrant flycatchers are largely opportunistic feeders and often catch any flying or arboreal insect they encounter. However, food can vary greatly and some (like the large great kiskadee) will eat fruit or small vertebrates (e.g. small frogs). In North America, most species are associated with a "sallying" feeding style, where they fly up to catch an insect directly from their perch and then immediately return to the same perch. Most tropical species however do not feed in this fashion and several types prefer to glean insects from leaves and bark. Tropical species are sometimes found in mixed-species foraging flocks, where various types of passerines and other smallish birds are found feeding in proximity.

The smallest family members are the closely related short-tailed pygmy tyrant and black-capped pygmy tyrant from the genus Myiornis (the first species usually being considered marginally smaller on average). These species reach a total length of 6.5–7 cm (2.6–2.8 in) and a weight of 4–5 grams. By length, they are the smallest passerines on earth, although some species of Old World warblers apparently rival them in their minuscule mean body masses if not in total length. The minuscule size and very short tail of the Myiornis pygmy tyrants often lend them a resemblance to a tiny ball or insect. The largest tyrant flycatcher is the great shrike-tyrant at 29 cm (11 in) and 99.2 grams (0.219 pounds). A few species such as the streamer-tailed tyrant, scissor-tailed flycatcher and fork-tailed flycatcher have a larger total length (up to 41 cm (16 in)), but this is mainly due to their extremely long tails; the fork-tailed flycatcher has relatively the longest tail feathers of any known bird.A number of species previously included in this family are now placed in the family Tityridae (see Systematics). Sibley and Alquist in their 1990 bird taxonomy had the genera Mionectes, Leptopogon, Pseudotriccus, Poecilotriccus, Taenotriccus, Hemitriccus, Todirostrum and Corythopis as a separate family Pipromorphidae, but although it is still thought that these genera are basal to most of the family, they are not each other's closest relatives.

White-winged becard

The white-winged becard (Pachyramphus polychopterus) is a species of bird in the family Tityridae. It has traditionally been placed in Cotingidae or Tyrannidae, but evidence strongly suggest it is better placed in Tityridae. where now placed by SACC. The species contains 8 subspecies that vary markedly in plumage and voice, and it has been suggested that they represent more than one species.

It is found in Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Chile is the only country of South America where the white-winged becard does not occur. The white-winged becard ranges east of the Andes cordillera, except in Colombia and Ecuador.

The white-winged becard inhabits a range of habitats, typically from lowlands to 500 m (1,600 ft), but on occasion as high as 200 m (660 ft).

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.