You are here

Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis)

Western Kingbird

Tyrannus verticalis

(Order: Passeriformes; Family: Tyrannidae)

Female Western Kingbird (photo by: Anna Balthazor)



The Western Kingbird is a medium-sized songbird with a gray body, a white throat and yellow belly. The wings are medium brown and the tail is black with white outer feathers. Adults are monomorphic. Juveniles are very similar in appearance to adults but have lighter brown wing color.


Male and Female Western Kingbird (


Natural History:

Male and female pairs aggressively defend a small territory usually established in trees or human-made structures. Nests are constructed from plant material, feathers and found human materials (such as string, cloth fibers, etc). The expansion of the Western Kingbird breeding range has been attributed to tree planting throughout the Great Plains.



(Image by:



Wood edges, grasslands, semiopen country, roadsides and urban areas



Flying insects and occasionally fruit


Conservation Status:

Least Concern


Native Status:

Native to North America



Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Seattle Audubon Society:





Peterson, Roger Tory. 2008. Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America. First Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company. Boston, New York.


Submitted by Anna Balthazor, July 2012

Wichita State University
Generated on 2011. This website is continuously updated.
Comments can be sent to Mary Liz Jameson.
Designed by Bioadventures.