Tropical Kingbird

Silhouette FlycatchersFlycatchers

Tropical Kingbird

Tyrannus melancholicus
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Tyrannidae
Basic Description

One of the most common sights in Middle and South America, the handsome Tropical Kingbird sits on utility lines, fences, and exposed trees seemingly everywhere. These big, gray-and-yellow flycatchers catch insects on impressive pursuit flights, usually returning to the same perch to eat their catch. In the United States, the species nests just into southernmost Texas and Arizona, where it inhabits towns, ranches, and lowlands of many sorts, especially near water. Across their vast range to the south, Tropical Kingbirds occur from sea level to areas over 10,000 feet high.

More ID Info
image of range map for Tropical KingbirdRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

Find This Bird

Look for Tropical Kingbirds along roads and on utility lines nearly anywhere in the tropical Americas. In the United States, it is a rather local lowland resident in rural areas and towns, usually near permanent water such as ponds and reservoirs. The species often perches on wires and snags in the open and frequently nests in cottonwood trees in the United States.

Other Names
  • Tirano Melancólico (Spanish)
  • Tyran mélancolique (French)
  • Cool Facts