Theodore Roosevelt (18581919). Through the Brazilian Wilderness. 1914.
starlings sought to escape observation by crouching on the ground so that their red breasts were hidden. There were yellow-shouldered blackbirds in wet places, and cowbuntings abounded.
But the most conspicuous birds I saw were members of the family of tyrant flycatchers, of which our own king-bird is the most familiar example. This family is very numerously represented in Argentina, both in species and individuals. Some of the species are so striking, both in color and habits, and in one case also in shape, as to attract the attention of even the unobservant. The least conspicuous, and nevertheless very conspicuous, among those that I saw was the bientevido, which is brown above, yellow beneath, with a boldly marked black and white head, and a yellow crest. It is very noisy, is common in the neighborhood of houses, and builds a big domed nest. It is really a big, heavy kingbird, fiercer and more powerful than any northern kingbird. I saw them assail not only the big but the small hawks with fearlessness, driving them in headlong flight. They not only capture insects, but pounce on mice, small frogs, lizards, and little snakes, rob birds nests of the fledgling young, and catch tadpoles and even small fish.
Two of the tyrants which I observed are like two with which I grew fairly familiar in Texas. The scissor-tail is common throughout the open country, and the long tail feathers, which seem at times to hamper its flight, attract attention whether the bird is in flight or perched on a tree. It has a habit of occasionally soaring into the air and descending in loops and spirals. The scarlet tyrant I saw in the orchards and gardens.