Saturday, August 13, 2011

Western Kingbird

The Western Kingbird is simply a cool bird.  What is it about this flycatcher that makes me never tire of seeing it?  Is it the subtle color pattern? The sleek shape or striking pose when perched? The neat way it flies?  I can't pinpoint it.

Did you know that the Western Kingbird has a red crown?  I didn't know that either until it was recently discussed on one of the Utah birding listservs.  Here is a link to one of the best photos of that red crown on the web.  Folks tell me that in the old field guides that the red crown was often shown, but newer guides don't show it.  I figure this is because the old field guides were often made from skins in the hand, where new field guides focus on field identifiable traits.

The maps below show where Western Kingbirds can be seen.  In the eastern half of the continent you may be lucky enough to see a vagrant!


  1. Thanks for the gushings about the Western Kingbird. It's one of my favorites. I focus on urban birding and this species is a resident in downtown Dallas from April to August. I'm always sad to see them go! Here's a shot of one in an urban setting.
    Thanks again!

  2. Epic picture. I can't remember the last time I've seen the red crown...its bloody impossible! Im enjoying having Easterns and Westerns side by side this summer, gotta love birding the Midwest.

  3. I think they seem so happy when they fly about snatching insects from the air. they are a joyous bird. Perhaps that is why you like them. did not know about the red crown. Very interesting. I must say I hate it when field guides do not give all the information.