Family Tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Least Concern

Couch's Kingbird (Tyrannus couchii)


French: Tyran de Couch German: Texaskönigstyrann Spanish: Tirano silbador

Tyrannus couchii

S. F. Baird

, 1858,

Nuevo León and San Diego, Nuevo León, Mexico


See T. niveigularis. Formerly treated as conspecific with T. melancholicus (which see). Probable hybrid with T. forficatus reported from New York (USA). N birds said to have longer wing and those from Yucatán Peninsula (proposed as race chloronotus) have longer bill than individuals from Guatemala and Belize, but differences insufficient to warrant recognition of races. Monotypic.


Extreme S USA (S Texas), E Mexico (Tamaulipas and N Nuevo León S to NE Oaxaca, N & W Chiapas, and E to Yucatán Peninsula; recorded on Cozumel I#R), N Guatemala and Belize.

Descriptive notes

20–24 cm; 40 g. Male has head mostly grey, small reddish-orange coronal patch (usually concealed), blackish lores and auriculars creating masked appearance; upper­... read more


Common calls plain and nasal “pit”, “kip”, “bihk” or “pik... read more


Groves of trees, forest edge, shrubby woodland, thorn-forest or tall chaparral, brushy... read more

Food and feeding

Insects; also fruits. Details of insect prey types taken essentially unknown; in S Texas and Yucatán Peninsula, observed to consume... read more


Breeds Mar–Aug; nest-building observed mid-Apr to mid-Jul and eggs early May to early Jun in S Texas (lower Rio Grande Valley); eggs... read more


Probably resident throughout most of range, but at least partially migratory in extreme N. At least... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Fairly common to common. Estimated global population 1,700,000 individuals. Density at one site estimated at 5·3 territories in 8-ha plot.... read more

Recommended citation

Mobley, J. (2020). Couch's Kingbird (Tyrannus couchii). 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 19 January 2020).