Masked Water-Tyrant

Sing and enchant in Praia da Pipa

Our little friends who sing and enchant in Pipa Beach measure an average length of 16 centimeters, with distinct white and black markings, and emit a long and strident whistle. Their nests are composed of sticks which are usually piled together in trees near the water. It is common to see these birds in couples: the male has slightly darker markings on its back than the female. They feed on small arthropods which they catch in the mud along river banks, reservoirs, marshes, and dirty places, from which they never stray very far. They can be seen in parks and gardens in urban centers, frequently on the ground, even if muddy, in search of food. It is a bird of open spaces.

The Masked Water-Tyrant (Fluvicola nengeta) is also popularly known as the Laundress, Little Bride, Little Widow (in the forests of the state of Minas Gerais), White Mary, Mary-Handkerchief, Dove-of-Souls, and in some places of the Northeast it is also called God’s Laundress. It belongs to the order of South American Passeriformes, of the Tyrannidae family.

The distribution of this bird is rather curious, for their populations can be found in two very distinct regions, one in eastern Brazil and another in northeast South America.

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