Western Kingbird (Probably)

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This morning I photographed my first kingbird of the season.  Kingbirds are spring-summer residents of our area.  They are flycatchers and there are two kingbird species that show up around here: Tropical and Western.  Of these the Western Kingbird is by far the most often seen.

The two species look very much alike.  Both species are generally grayish brown with yellow breasts and abdomens.  However, the Tropical Kingbirds have heavier beaks than do the Westerns, they have more yellow on their breasts, and their tails are notched as opposed to the Western Kingbirds’ generally squared-off tails. When I first looked at these images I was absolutely convinced that the bird I’d photographed was a Tropical Kingbird.

This bird has a notched tail and that had me going for a while.  However, looking at it more closely, I’m more or less convinced that it is actually a Western Kingbird.  The beak is much more typical of a Western Kingbird than of a Tropical Kingbird and the underside of the tail has a white outline, which is typical of the Westerns.  Also, the images that I’ve seen of Tropical Kingbirds show a bit more yellow on the breast than this bird has.

Still, I am open to being talked out of my identification.  If anyone believes this to be a Tropical Kingbird, please post a comment and give your reasons.

Images made with a Canon 5Diii, 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 ISII zoom lens+1.4x telextender, aperture priority setting, ISO 500, f8 @ 1/1000.

3 responses to “Western Kingbird (Probably)”

  1. James Prudente says :

    Western is correct. Outer tail feathers are white.

  2. Linda says :

    Love your birds

  3. Liesl Kii says :

    I don’t know from beaks, but this is a cute bird!

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