Family Tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Least Concern

Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus)


French: Tyran tritri German: Schieferrücken-Königstyrann Spanish: Tirano oriental

Lanius Tyrannus


, 1758,

South Carolina, USA


See T. vociferans. W populations sometimes separated as race hespericola, mainly on basis of differences in lengths of wing, tail and tarsus and in width of white terminal tailband. Monotypic.


Throughout much of North America, from British Columbia E to Newfoundland, S to N New Mexico, C Texas and S Florida (absent only in Alaska, much of N Canada, and parts of W & SW USA). Winters in South America from W Amazonia S to N Argentina.

Descriptive notes

19–23 cm; 40–42 g. Has crown and side of head black, semi-concealed red to orange-red (sometimes yellow) crown patch; often appears slightly crested; upper­... read more


Most frequent call a harsh “dzeet” or “zeet”, sometimes in series, or high... read more


Variety of forested and open terrain, including canopy, borders and clearings of open humid forest... read more

Food and feeding

Primarily flying insects during breeding season; occasionally small vertebrates, such as frogs; also substantial quantities of fruit and... read more


Late Apr to Aug; timing varies geographically and within populations. Aerial courtship display observed; partners often greet each other... read more


Migratory; winters in South America throughout most of Andes (Colombia S to S Bolivia) and much of... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common. Estimated global population 13,000,000 individuals. Survey data reveal no apparent trend in breeding numbers between 1966 and... read more

Recommended citation

Mobley, J. (2019). Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus). 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 22 November 2019).