WESTERN KINGBIRD

WESTERN KINGBIRD (Tyrannus verticalis) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Western Kingbird adult has a medium grey head and back, and darker grey wings and tail. Tail has white outer feathers. Throat and breast are light grey, belly and under wings are yellow. Eyes and bill are black, legs and feet are grey. Sexes are similar. Bird length is around 24 cm (8 inches).
VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Tyrannus-verticalis
NAME: ‘Kingbird’ would stem from the ‘dominating, aggressive nature’ of this bird (Choate). Latin genus name ‘Tyrannus’ means ‘tyrant’ or ‘king’. Latin species name ‘verticalis’ refers to the top of the head.
HABITAT: Farmland, prairie, also urban areas.
DIET: Perches on trees or wires, catches insects on the fly, returns to perch to eat prey. Also feeds on berries.
NESTING: Nest built in a tree, utility pole or cliff ledge. Four to six creamy eggs are laid, incubated by female for the most part. Chicks fed by both parents.
DISTRIBUTION: Breeds in southwest Canada and western half of USA. Found in most of Mexico during migration. Winters in the southern tip of Florida, southwest Mexico and western Central America.
Distribution Map: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_kingbird – /media/File:Tyrannus_verticalis_map.svg
ON PEI: Does not breed on Prince Edward Island, sightings listed as ‘accidental’ so far. See note below on bird vagrancy.
CONSERVATION: Species has expanded its range, currently not at risk.
Vagrancy: In biology this means an animal going way outside its normal range. For birds, this can happen when there are storms and they get blown off course. On other times, the bird simply wanders in a different direction than usual. Here’s an article about vagrancy in birds.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Cassin’s Kingbird
REFERENCES: http://fieldguide.mt.gov/speciesDetail.aspx?elcode=ABPAE52050 (Montana Field Guide)
https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/western-kingbird
https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Tyrannus_verticalis/ (University of Michigan)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_kingbird
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Western_Kingbird/lifehistory
http://identify.whatbird.com/obj/349/overview/Western_Kingbird.aspx
http://www.birdweb.org/birdweb/bird/western_kingbird
https://txtbba.tamu.edu/species-accounts/western-kingbird/ (Texas Breeding Bird Atlas)

Western Kingbird - Lovewell State Park, KS - Jan. 2010 - photo by Berichard
Western Kingbird – Lovewell State Park, KS – Jan. 2010 – photo by Berichard
Western Kingbird - Spring Creek, NV - June 2007 - photo by Gary L. Clark
Western Kingbird – Spring Creek, NV – June 2007 – photo by Gary L. Clark

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