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threatened and/or endangered

Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus


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Eastern Kingbird
credit: Mdf/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Tyrannidae, Tyrant Flycatchers view all from this family

Description ADULT Has neatly defined black hood grading to dark gray back and dark wings, the latter having whitish feather margins. Tail is black with white terminal band. Underparts, including throat, are mostly white, but note subtle pale gray wash on chest. Feet and bill are dark. JUVENILE Similar, but cap, back, and wings are tinged brownish.

Dimensions Length: 8-9" (20-23 cm)

Habitat Common summer visitor (mainly May-Aug) to a variety of open habitats. Winters in South America.

Observation Tips Generally easy to find.

Range Rocky Mountains, Mid-Atlantic, Plains, Eastern Canada, Alaska, Western Canada, Texas, Northwest, Southwest, Southeast, Florida, New England, Great Lakes, California

Voice Utters a metallic, rasping k'dzee-k'dzee÷, sometimes rapid and accelerating.

Similar Species Western Kingbird T. verticalis (L 8-9.5 in) is a mainly western species whose range sometimes extends east. All birds have a pale gray head (darkest through eye and palest on cheek), pale olive-gray back and dark wings with pale feather margins; chest is pale gray and underparts, including underwing coverts, are otherwise pale lemon yellow. Summer visitor (mainly Apr-Aug) to farmland and open country and often perches in the open, making observation easy.

Discussion Familiar black and white kingbird. Often perches on roadside wires and usually indifferent to people. Reddish orange concealed crown patch is seldom revealed. Feeds mainly by making aerial sorties after insects from an exposed perch. Sexes are similar.