Monday, August 26, 2013

Eastern Kingbird

Eastern Kingbird - Tyrannus tyrannus

I mostly see the Eastern Kingbird during the spring and fall migration, and the sighting of the bird below on August 21, 2013, is a heads-up that the fall migration is underway. The longer wings of the Eastern Kingbird are aerodynamically adapted for the sustained flight at high speed, which is necessary for the long migration to Central America. A male and female often nest together in successive years but the birds do not migrate together, which implies they independently return to the same geographic area in the spring. 

The genus and species name are identical, which emphasizes the description. Tyrannus means tyrant, so this bird has a reputation for aggressiveness if the nest or territory is threatened.  

The spring photos below were on June 11, 2013. The changes in the feather coloration imply this is a juvenile. The feather change cannot be a molt, because the Eastern Kingbird molts after migration. 


The Atlas of Breeding Birds of Alberta. Federation of Alberta Naturalists. 2007.

Baicich PJ, Harrison CJO. Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds. Princeton UP. 2005.

Beadle D, Rising J. Sparrows of the United States and Canada. Princeton UP. 2003.

Fisher C, Acorn J. Birds of Alberta. Lone Pine Publishing. Edmonton. 1998.

Howell, Steve N. G. Molt in North American Birds. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. New York. 2010. 

Sibley David A. The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior. Alfred A Knopf, Inc. New York. 2001.

Tudge Colin. The Bird. Crown Publishers. New York. 2008.

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