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Cassin's Kingbird Tyrannus vociferans


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Cassin's Kingbird
credit: Wolfgang Wander/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Tyrannidae, Tyrant Flycatchers view all from this family

Description ADULT Has dark gray head, back, and chest, with striking white malar patch below blackish lores. Orange-red crown patch is mostly concealed and seldom visible. Wings are brown with pale feather margins, and straighttipped tail is dark brown, but with (often indistinct) pale terminal margin. Underparts are bright yellow, with a distinct demarcation from gray breast. JUVENILE Similar, but with buffy margins to wing feathers and less distinct pale tip to tail.

Dimensions Length: 8-9" (20-23 cm)

Habitat Locally common summer visitor (mainly Apr-Aug) to open woodland. Most birds winter in Mexico, but small numbers are found in southern California.

Observation Tips Reasonably easy to see in suitable habitats within range; often perches high in tree.

Range Rocky Mountains, Plains, Texas, Southwest, California

Voice Call is a sharp, strident che-Beer; song is a series of chrr-chrr-chrrÖ notes.

Discussion Well-marked kingbird. Told from similar Western (the only other widespread and common gray and yellow kingbird in west) by darker plumage overall, greater contrast between colors, different call and habitat preferences. Sexes are similar.