Western Kingbird

Tyrannus verticalis 

Found in open habitats
Ashy gray and lemon-yellow plumage and black tails
Aggressive, will scold and chase intruders

Size & Shape

Western Kingbirds are fairly large flycatchers with large heads and broad shoulders. They have heavy, straight bills, long wings, and a medium-length, square-tipped tail.

Color Pattern

Western Kingbirds are gray-headed birds with a yellow belly and a whitish chest and throat. The tail is black with white outer tail feathers that are especially conspicuous in flight.


  • Behavior

    Easily found perched upright on fences and utility lines, Western Kingbirds hawk insects from the air or fly out to pick prey from the ground. They ferociously defend their territories with wing-fluttering, highly vocal attacks. Vocalizations include long series of squeaky, bubbling calls as well as single, accented kip notes.

  • Habitat

    Western Kingbirds live in open habitats, where they perch on utility lines, fences, and trees. They prefer valleys and lowlands, including grasslands, deserts, sagebrush, agricultural fields, and open woodlands. They are typically found below about 7,000 feet in elevation.

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