any of several songbirds of the genus Tityra, of the American tropics, having gray, black, and white plumage and large swollen bills, and variously classified with the flycatchers or the cotingas.

< Neo-Latin, perhaps < Latin Tityrus name of a shepherd; see -a2

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(genus Tityra), any of three species of tropical American birds of the cotinga family (Cotingidae, order Passeriformes). The masked tityra (Tityra semifasciata) is common in woods and open country from Mexico to Bolivia and Brazil, the black-tailed tityra (T. cayana) occurs throughout tropical South America, and the black-crowned tityra (T. inquisitor) ranges from Mexico to Argentina. The males of all three species are about 20 cm (8 inches) long and are pale gray with black on the head, wings, and tail; the females are similar but browner in hue. The bill is stout and slightly hooked. Tityras utter froglike sounds and nest in tree holes, which, in the case of the masked tityra, may be usurped from a toucan or woodpecker by stuffing leaves into the hole until it is abandoned by the owner.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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