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Oklahoma State Bird
Adopted on May 26, 1951.
From its long tail to its famous "sky dance," no other Oklahoma bird is more striking and identifiable than the scissor-tailed flycatcher, (Muscivora forficata.) No wonder the State Legislature adopted the scissortail as the state bird May 26, 1951, after school children discovered enormous support from garden clubs and Audubon Society chapters. The selection is even more special because none of the other seven states in which scissortails nest have named it as their state bird.
Description of the Oklahoma State Bird: Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
Well-scissortail, Texas bird-of-paradise and swallowtailed flycatcher.
Characteristics of the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher, Muscivora forficata, is a somewhat quiet bird with beautiful plumage and a long sleek tail that is twice as long as its body. The deeply-forked tail resembles a pair of scissors. The Scissor Tailed Flycatcher has a black and white tail, a dark gray back, a light gray chest and head and has pale orange red coloring beneath its wings.
The scissor-tailed flycatcher is known by other names as well-scissortail, Texas bird-of-paradise and swallowtailed flycatcher. It is obvious how the bird acquired its common names, but its former Latin name-Muscivora forficata-describes the bird in even grander terms. Muscivora derives from the Latin word for "fly" (musca) and "to devour" (vorare), while forficata comes from forfex, or scissors. The scissortail now is a member of the genus Tyrannus, or "tyrant-like flycatchers." This genus earned its name because several species are extremely aggressive on their breeding territories, where they will attack larger birds such as crows, hawks and owls.
Oklahoma House Joint Resolution No. 21
House Joint Resolution No. 21
Oklahoma Statutes, Title 25, Chapter 3, Section 25-98.
Taxonomic Hierarchy of the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
Official State Birds
State Bird: Bird selected (as by the legislature) as an emblem of a state of the United States.
NOTE: Many states have more than one official bird, or have designate state birds more specifically.
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