Family Tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Least Concern

Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis)


French: Tyran de l’Ouest German: Schmalschnabel-Königstyrann Spanish: Tirano occidental

Tyrannus verticalis


, 1822,

#R, near La Junta, Colorado, USA


See T. vociferans. Monotypic.


W & C North America (S from S interior British Columbia, S Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, E to W Minnesota, W Iowa, W Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas) and N Mexico (N Baja California, also S on mainland to S Sonora and NW Chihuahua). Winters from S Mexico (Pacific coast and adjacent interior from S Jalisco and Guerrero to S Chiapas), S Guatemala, El Salvador, SW Honduras and W Nicaragua S to Costa Rica (Térraba region); also in S Florida, USA.

Descriptive notes

19·5–24·1 cm; 35–40 g, male average 38·5 g, female average 37·3 g. Has head and nape pale grey, semi-concealed flame-orange to orange-... read more


Commonest call a sharp, emphatic “whit”, “bec” or “bek”; often... read more


Wide variety of open habitat, including grassland and savanna, sagebrush flats, desert scrub,... read more

Food and feeding

Arthropods (mostly insects) comprise 90–97% of adult diet; principal prey hymenopterans, hemipterans, orthopterans, lepidopteran... read more


Timing of breeding directly related to insect abundance; egg-laying in North America from mid-Apr to Jun, generally later in N; breeds Apr... read more


Medium-distance migrant. Winters mainly from S Mexico S to W Costa Rica, in small numbers also from... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Common. Estimated global population 19,000,000 individuals. Breeding densities vary with habitat, from c. 1 pair/3·7 ha in riparian habitat to... read more

Recommended citation

Mobley, J. (2019). Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis). 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 14 December 2019).