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Monday, July 13, 2009

Tyrannus tyrannus

kingbird front view

Here's a really common visitor to our back yard, and to the open spaces of most of the northeast. It's the Eastern Kingbird, a flycatcher. Its name isn't Tyrannus tyrannus for nothing. They are known for their aggressive behavior toward other birds.

kingbird side view

Flycatchers have slight crests. Not like a blue jay or cardinal, but you can see that its head isn't exactly round. They also have slight "whiskers." That narrow white band on its tail is another easy distinguishing mark. You are very likely to see them on fenceposts and wires, surveying the fields. The sound the make is a buzzy "dzzzt."

kingbird flyingThey swoop through the air catching insects. This is a lousy picture, but it shows a very typical silhouette for this bird- handy for identification.

kingbird flying

This is a view more typical of lots of birds, but the focus is really good, and you can see its underparts.

See Northern Oriole- A Lucky Shot


VanillaSeven said...

What a disguise, to know that this cute little bird is aggressive towards other birds. Nicely captured! :)

Julia said...

Those are some fun birds. Are they like the western kingbirds who all gather together in the spring courting each other in a wild free for all. It's a little like a pick up scene at a human bar... Not that I know much about those things.

BK said...

From the look of the shot, I wouldn't think that this bird is aggressive toward other birds; looks can be so deceiving. How about to human? Do they display similar aggressive behavior toward human too?

WillOaks Studio said...

I love these little guys and we have a lot of them around here, too! I managed to stumble on some fledglings on my deck last week!

Grampy said...

Very interesting. I believe I may have seen some. Thought they were hawks the way they swoop.
Have a good day and I hope you made some smores.

Glynis Peters said...

I had not heard of these birds before, great pics, thanks.

Lin said...

I like his little 'landing gear' all tucked in underneath him when he flies! Good photo!

Ratty said...

I have been seeing a lot of birds that fit this description. I have some pictures too that are not nearly as good as yours. I've been wondering what these birds were.

Sharkbytes said...

Vanilla! Thanks for stopping by! Yes, they will gang up and chase other birds away.

Julia- I haven't seen them flock like that. The starlings have the market cornered on that activity here!

BK- No, they don't bother humans particularly

Hi WillOaks- Well yours are swallows, and mine are kingbirds, but their coloring is very similar! Note yours have the notched tails.

Hi Grampy- These are much smaller than hawks- about the size of a downy woodpecker, even smaller than a robin. But these guys will chase hawks!

Hi Glynis- I'm sure you could tell me a lot about the birds where you are though! I might not know a single one.

Lin- Yes, I liked that too- something we don't see too often.

Ratty- I'm sure there are lots in the fields where you are. This seems to be a really good year for them.

John | English Wilderness said...

The last picture of the bird in flight is fantastic. I always attempt to capture something like this but just get a blur :-(

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Hi John, that's because I'm a great photographer. (PS I'm a great liar too... you know I just got lucky!)

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