Strange Tails

Strange Tails

We're delighted to have a strong population of strange-tailed tyrants at the reserve. So much so that we've adopted these beautiful and endangered birds as the symbol of the Trust

The growing diversity of the animals of Reserva Don Luis is a fresh source of delight every time we return.  We don't play favourites, but it's impossible not to engage more with some of our more conspicuous guests.  One of these is the strange-tailed tyrant.  The male is stoic in his tolerance of one of nature's strangest - and it would seem least practical - adaptations.  He's willing to suffer to be beautiful, and somehow manages to fly with tail feathers that were surely designed for a bird three times his size.

We love his perseverance; his resolution to succeed against challenge, and his ability to prove that anything is possible.  He's appearing in growing numbers on the Reserva Do Luis, and his success has become an allegory for, and a symbol of, our own.

When we started the process of updating and redesigning our website, we wanted to adopt an image that symbolised our aims and our challenges.  This brave little flycatcher, with his indomitable character, was the perfect choice.

The logo is a stylised profile of a male tyrant, silhouetted against the sunrise.  We coloured the sun the blue of the Argentinian flag in honour of this country's beauty, its climate and the breathtaking span of magnificent animals that it nurtures.

More about strange-tailed tyrants>>

Platyrrhinus lineatus

Bat Research

Our bat team is conducting bat research both in the Ibera Marshes and in other provinces. We are especially concentrating on Misiones at the moment where we find the largest bat in Argentina, Chrotopterus auriitus and Myotis ruber, two species that we are researching.

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Strange-Tailed Tyrant (Alectrurus risora)

Strange-Tailed Tyrant

Alectrurus risora

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The Strange-Tailed Tyrant lives up to its name as it has a tail twice the length of its body and is quite unusual looking. The male has a featherless throat which turns bright red during the breeding season. Sexual dimorphism is apparent with the female coloured in shades of brown and less striking. She also has a long tail but it is a lot less cumbersome.

Female Strange-tailed Tyrant

Alectrurus risora

The Strange tailed Tyrant has a small range and appears to be resident in small pockets. The range is from Southern Paraguay to NE Argentina with the largest population being in the Esteros del Ibera where it can be locally common. There are also a few pockets left in Brazil and Uruguay.

We are delighted that we now have a reasonable sized population of these birds at Reserva Don Luis, and whilst it can be transient, they are breeding here very successfully. Our conditions here are perfect for this species and we manage our land to accommodate them.  After our devastating fire of 2012 they are back in force in 2014.

Their habitat is wet grasslands near marshes and they require tall grass of up to 1.5m for breeding. Their staple diet is invertebrates. Although they can coexist with cattle, problems occur when grass is routinely burnt as a management technique. They are also intolerant of fertilizers and pesticides. They are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN redlist and appear in appendix 1 of CITES. Threats are habitat loss due to afforestation, rice fields and to a lesser extent, cattle ranching.

They are known as Yetepá de Collar in Argentina.

Juvenile Strange-tailed Tyrant


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