Kingbirds

( Tyrannus Family )



Kingbirds, are in a group of large insect-eating birds in the Tyrant flycatcher family Tyrannidae.

They prefer semi-open or open areas. These birds wait on an exposed perch and then catch insects in flight. They have long pointed wings and large broad bills.

These birds tend to defend their breeding territories aggressively, often chasing away much larger birds.

Western Kingbird

They migrate in flocks to South America.

They wait on an open perch and fly out to catch insects in flight, sometimes hovering to pick food off vegetation. They also eat berries and fruit, mainly in their wintering areas.

Some Eastern species place their nests in the open while others hide nests very well. In Southern British Columbia can nest in open fields; in shrubs over open water; high in tall trees and even in the tops of small stumps.

It has been shown that those pairs that hide their nests well tend to be less aggressive towards intruders near the nest (perhaps relying on nest cover), while pairs that nest in the open tend to be more overtly aggressive to intruders.

Both male and female of Western and Eastern species participate in nest defense, but females may stay on well-hidden nests longer than females with open nests who may leave nests earlier to chase away predators.

Those pairs nesting in the open may be able to see predators coming earlier and rely on aggressive behavior to protect their young.

They get their name because of they are very aggressive in protecting their territory. This member of the flycatcher family will attack any bird that dares get near the nest, swooping down with screaming cries.

Aggressive and conspicuous, this bird can easily be found perching on fence wires all over its territory.

They wait on these perches and then make quick flights out to grab prey from the air or off the ground. They commonly hover over a field and then drop to the ground after prey.

Eastern birds are often spotted on snags (dead trees), utility poles, and the end of tree branches and the tops of trees. As an insect flies by, the bird quickly flies out to snag its prey and fly back to its original location.

Though not often, Western and Eastern species will hybridize.

Eastern Kingbirds

Western Kingbirds

Other Common Birds


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