Family Tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Least Concern

Cassin’s Kingbird (Tyrannus vociferans)


French: Tyran de Cassin German: Cassinkönigstyrann Spanish: Tirano gritón

Tyrannus vociferans


, 1826,

Temascaltepec, Mexico


On basis of phylogenetic analyses, perhaps basal to a clade including T. verticalis and T. forficatus within an “E & W species group” that also includes T. tyrannus and perhaps T. caudifasciatus and/or T. cubensis; however, similarities in voice and some aspects of behaviour suggest it may be closest to T. couchii, T. crassirostris and T. verticalis, although this idea is not yet supported by molecular data. Validity of race xenopterus questionable. Two subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. v. vociferans Swainson, 1826 – W & C USA (SE Montana, E Wyoming, SW South Dakota, SW Nebraska, C & S California, extreme SE Nevada, S Utah, SW & SC Colorado, N & E Arizona, New Mexico, W Texas), Mexico (Baja California, and S from W Sonora and Chihuahua to Oaxaca); in winter S to Baja California Sur, Chiapas and extreme W Guatemala.
  • T. v. xenopterus Griscom, 1934 – SW Mexico (highlands of Guerrero).
  • Descriptive notes

    20·5–23 cm; male 45 g, female 41·4 g. Has dusky grey head, semi-concealed orange-red coronal patch; lores, subocular area, and auriculars only slightly... read more


    Quite loud and noisy, vocalizing frequently (males most vocal and frequently counter-call), and... read more


    Variety of different habitats, including arid to semi-humid and relatively open areas with... read more

    Food and feeding

    Primarily insects, also fruits; occasionally spiders, and even small rodents. Stomach contents of birds in C Arizona indicate beetles (... read more


    Generally early/mid-Apr to late Jul/mid-Aug (peak early May to mid-Jul) in SW USA; breeds mid-Mar to Aug in Mexico; possibly two broods... read more


    Race xenopterus sedentary. Nominate race a partial short-distance migrant; wintering range... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly common to common. Estimated global population at 4,300,000 individuals. USA populations can fluctuate four-fold between years... read more

    Recommended citation

    Mobley, J. (2019). Cassin’s Kingbird (Tyrannus vociferans). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 7 December 2019).