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Help develop a Bird ID tool!

Couch's Kingbird

Tyrannus couchii ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: TYRANNIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A large, brightly colored flycatcher of southern Texas and Mexico, the Couch's Kingbird is very similar to the more widespread Tropical Kingbird. The two were considered the same species for nearly one hundred years, but they can be separated by voice and very subtle morphological characters.

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Appearance

Flycatchers
Flycatchers
Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Medium-sized songbird.
  • Back grayish green.
  • Underparts yellow.
  • Head gray.
  • Plain blackish brown tail.

Immature Description

Similar to adult except duller overall, red in crown is reduced or lacking, and wingtip feathers lack notches.

Range Map Help

Couch
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Field MarksHelp

  • Adult (center) and juveniles

    Couch's Kingbird

    Adult (center) and juveniles
    • © 2004 Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Bentsen State Park, Texas, June 2004

Similar Species

  • Very similar to Tropical Kingbird; best separated by voice.
  • Cassin's Kingbird has darker gray head, back and breast; more contrasting white chin, and white tip to tail.
  • Western Kingbird has white outer edges to its black tail, a grayer chest, and a smaller bill.
  • For a more detailed discussion of how to distinguish the yellow kingbird species, with photographs of specimens in the Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates, go to http://birds.cornell.edu/crows/kingbirdsX.htm.