The tyrant flycatchers (Tyrannidae) are a clade of passerine birds which occur throughout North and South America. They are considered the largest family of birds on Earth, 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 colours. 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 and the olive, yellow and grey Ornate Flycatcher. 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 do not necessarily specialized in flies). 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 barks. 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 Great Crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus) is a large insect-eating bird of the tyrant flycatcher family. It is the most widespread member of the genus, Myiarchus, in North America and is found over most of the eastern and mid-western portions of the continent. It dwells mostly in the treetops and rarely is found on the ground.
Adult Great Crested Flycatchers usually measure between 17–21 cm (7–8 in) in length with a wingspan of around 34 cm (13 in). This bird usually weighs between 27–40 g (0.95–1.41 ounces).
The Great Crested Flycatcher does not display sexual dimorphism. All adults are brownish on the upperparts with yellow underparts; they have a long rusty brown tail and a bushy crest. Their throat and breast are grey.
Their breeding habitat is deciduous or mixed forests across eastern North America. They nest in a cavity in a tree. Usually a snake skin is included in the lining of the nest, but sometimes a plastic wrapper is substituted.
The call of these birds is a whistled, weep.