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The western kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis) is a large tyrant flycatcher found throughout western environments of North America, as far south as Mexico.

Description

Adults are a combination of both gray and yellow plumage, along with crimson feathers that are hidden until courtship or against intruders. Characteristic of kingbird species, the western kingbird is very territorial. Although the western is often misidentified as Cassin's kingbird, Couch's kingbird, or the tropical kingbird due to the yellow coloration, it can be distinguished from these other species through its black, squared tail with white edges.

Anatomy and morphology

Standard Measurements[2][3]
length 8–9.3 in (200–240 mm)
weight 40 g (1.4 oz)
wingspan 15.5 in (390 mm)
wing 125.5–133.5 mm (4.94–5.26 in)
tail 88.5–96.5 mm (3.48–3.80 in)
culmen 20.5–22.5 mm (0.81–0.89 in)
tarsus 18.5–19.5 mm (0.73–0.77 in)

Distribution and habitat

in Nevada

The breeding habitat is open areas in western North America. The increased presence of trees throughout the Great Plains during the past century due to fire suppression and tree planting facilitated the range expansion of the western kingbird,[4][5][6] as well as range expansions of many other species of birds.[7][8][9]

Behavior

The name kingbird is derived from their "take-charge" behavior. These birds aggressively defend their territory, even against much larger birds such as hawks. They will attack humans, livestock, and pets when they think their young are in danger. Kingbirds make a sturdy cup nest in a tree or shrub, sometimes on top of a pole or other man-made structure. Three to five white, creamy, or pinkish eggs with heavy blotches of brown, black, or lavender are laid and incubated for 12 to 14 days.[10] Due to the small size of the nest, and the chicks' rapid rate of growth, most of them are pushed out of the nest, due to overcrowding, before they are fully feathered and able to fly. [2]

They wait on an open perch and fly out to catch insects such as bees, robber flies, winged ants, grasshoppers, and spiders. They are also known to eat berries, buckthorn/sumac, and poison ivy seeds.[11]

These birds migrate in flocks to Florida and the Pacific coast of southern Mexico and Central America.

Sound

The song is a squeaky chatter, sometimes compared to a squeaky toy. The call is a sharp loud whit. It occasionally sings before sunrise.

References

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2016). "Tyrannus verticalis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T22700497A93780166. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22700497A93780166.en. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  2. ^ a b Godfrey, W. Earl (1966). The Birds of Canada. Ottawa: National Museum of Canada. pp. 249–250.
  3. ^ Sibley, David Allen (2000). The Sibley Guide to Birds. New York: Knopf. pp. 336–337. ISBN 0-679-45122-6.
  4. ^ Ellis, E. and R. Kannan, 2004. The Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis): a recently established breeding bird in Arkansas. J. Arkansas Academy Science 58: 52-59.
  5. ^ Houston S. 1979. The spread of the Western Kingbird across the prairies. Blue Jay 37:149–157.
  6. ^ Gamble LR, Bergin TM. 1996. Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis), no. 227. In: A. Poole (ed.). The Birds of North America Online. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York
  7. ^ Livezey KB. 2009a. Range expansion of Barred Owls, part I: chronology and distribution. American Midland Naturalist 161:49–56.
  8. ^ Livezey KB. 2009b. Range expansion of Barred Owls, part 2: facilitating ecological changes. American Midland Naturalist 161:323–349.
  9. ^ Livezey KB. 2010. Killing barred owls to help spotted owls II: implications for many other range-expanding species. Northwestern Naturalist 91:251–270.
  10. ^ "Western Kingbird Life History, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology".
  11. ^ "BioKIDS - Kids' Inquiry of Diverse Species, Welcome". www.biokids.umich.edu. Retrieved 2020-11-11.

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    4.0 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 truetrue English Western Kingbird author name string: Vickie J Anderson, http://www.wildlifeimagesupclose...
    (1,704 × 1,222 (1.37 MB)) - 08:24, 15 September 2023
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    4.0 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 truetrue English Western Kingbird author name string: Vickie J Anderson, http://www.wildlifeimagesupclose...
    (1,889 × 1,382 (2.27 MB)) - 08:24, 15 September 2023
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    4.0 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 truetrue English Western Kingbird author name string: Vickie J Anderson, http://www.wildlifeimagesupclose...
    (2,749 × 1,895 (5.16 MB)) - 08:24, 15 September 2023
  • Thumbnail for File:Tyrannus-verticalis-001.jpg
    Western Kingbird -- Lovewell State Park, Kansas, USA -- 2007 June I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby publish it under the following license:...
    (1,536 × 1,024 (581 KB)) - 02:44, 31 January 2022
  • Thumbnail for File:CassinsAndWesternKingbirds.jpg
    0-migrated, GFDL 2007-06-18T19:32:47Z Mdf 1536x1024 (594631 Bytes) Western Kingbird -- Lovewell State Park, Kansas, USA -- 2007 June {{GFDL}} Uploaded...
    (1,425 × 904 (110 KB)) - 22:18, 7 February 2024
  • Thumbnail for File:Tyrannus verticalis NBII.jpg
    Scientific Name(s): Tyrannus verticalis Common Name(s): Western kingbird Description: Western kingbird sitting on barbed wire. Thumbnail, 72 dpi -- web quality...
    (1,950 × 1,284 (1.88 MB)) - 22:58, 21 June 2016
  • Thumbnail for File:Tyrannus verticalis1.jpg
    Description: Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis) Creator: John and Karen Hollingsworth Source: WV10281-001 URL: Fish and Wildlife Service Location:...
    (750 × 1,130 (245 KB)) - 12:58, 24 February 2021
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    0-migrated, GFDL 2007-06-18T19:32:47Z Mdf 1536x1024 (594631 Bytes) Western Kingbird -- Lovewell State Park, Kansas, USA -- 2007 June {{GFDL}} Uploaded...
    (908 × 928 (74 KB)) - 15:00, 23 December 2020
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    DescriptionWestern kingbird - 50373857617.jpg English: Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, Denver, CO Date 29 August 2020, 12:25:26 Source...
    (5,760 × 3,840 (1.1 MB)) - 08:50, 31 December 2022
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    DescriptionWestern Kingbird (53219961684).jpg NCOS Photo by Sue Cook Date 27 September 2023, 09:10 Source Western Kingbird Author Channel City Camera...
    (1,318 × 1,055 (1.17 MB)) - 01:15, 13 October 2023
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    DescriptionWestern Kingbird (34608938631).jpg Western Kingbird Date 16 May 2017, 08:22 Source Western Kingbird Author Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren...
    (3,370 × 2,471 (2.34 MB)) - 01:55, 25 September 2020
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    DescriptionWestern Kingbird (48082809723).jpg Kingbird Alley in St. Louis City Date 15 June 2019, 13:09 Source Western Kingbird Author Andy Reago & Chrissy...
    (2,975 × 2,233 (1.6 MB)) - 05:27, 25 May 2022
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    DescriptionWestern Kingbird (48082810203).jpg Kingbird Alley in St. Louis City Date 15 June 2019, 13:07 Source Western Kingbird Author Andy Reago & Chrissy...
    (2,648 × 1,888 (1.28 MB)) - 05:27, 25 May 2022
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    DescriptionWestern kingbird (51388358532).jpg Western kingbird Date 18 July 2021, 18:02 Source Western kingbird Author Melissa McMasters from Memphis,...
    (4,636 × 3,091 (1.02 MB)) - 19:35, 8 March 2023
  • Thumbnail for File:Western Kingbird, Lake Los Carneros, California (51161833821).jpg
    DescriptionWestern Kingbird, Lake Los Carneros, California (51161833821).jpg Lake Los Carneros Date 5 May 2021, 13:26 Source Kingbird Hovering for Bugs...
    (2,000 × 1,599 (609 KB)) - 02:44, 21 November 2022
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    DescriptionWestern Kingbird (34740382895).jpg Western Kingbird Date 16 May 2017, 08:23 Source Western Kingbird Author Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren...
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    DescriptionWestern kingbird (51389856364).jpg Western kingbird Date 18 July 2021, 18:02 Source Western kingbird Author Melissa McMasters from Memphis,...
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    DescriptionWestern Kingbird (34975764516).jpg 5/28/17 Kingbird Alley Date 28 May 2017, 13:09 Source Western Kingbird Author Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren...
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    DescriptionWestern kingbird WWL.jpg English: A western kingbird at Whitewater Lake Date 16/05/20 Source Own work Author Krazytea...
    (861 × 606 (14 KB)) - 22:03, 24 September 2020
  • Species: Tyrannus verticalis (Say, 1823) Vernacular names English: Western Kingbird Deutsch: Arkansaskönigstyrann español: Tirano Occidental français: Tyran...
    466 bytes (70 words) - 14:44, 24 November 2014
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