Western Kingbird

Tyrannus verticalis

Order

PASSERIFORMES

Family

Flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Code 4

WEKI

Code 6

TYRVER

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Western Kingbird is a large tyrant flycatcher which breeds throughout western North America. The preferred habitat for this bird is open areas with some low bushes or shrubs. Nests are built in a cup shape and placed in trees or shrubs, or on high man-made structures. Diets consist mainly of insects and berries caught in-flight or on the ground. In winter months, the Western Kingbird migrates to Florida and the Pacific coastlines of southern Mexico and Central America. This species is very aggressive in defending its territory, including against large birds. Its conservation status is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Western Kingbird: Large flycatcher, gray upperparts, darker head, white throat and upper breast, and yellow lower breast and belly. Wings are brown. Tail is black with white edges. Feeds on insects, fruits and berries. Bouyant fluttering flight on shallow wing beats. Hovers over prey and dips down.


Range and Habitat

Western Kingbird: Breeds throughout the west, from southern Canada south to northern Mexico, and from the Pacific coast east to the Great Plains. Regular fall migrant on the Atlantic coast and winters in the tropics. Preferred habitats include open country such as ranches, roadsides, streams, and ponds with trees.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"ker-er-ip, ker-er-ip, pree pree prpreee", "kit"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The Western Kingbird has benefited from the cutting of forests. Alfalfa and livestock pastures provide a plentiful diet of insects.
  • The male has an impressive courtship display in which he twists and turns to about 60 feet in the air at which point he stalls, and then tumbles, flips, and twists as he falls toward the ground.
  • They catch insects on the wing, often leaving its perch and chasing flying insects for 40 to 60 feet.
  • A group of kingbirds are collectively known as a "coronation", "court", and "tyranny" of kingbirds.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Western Kingbird

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Kavita Jhunjhunwala

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
BellyX
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
UnderpartsX
Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X