Eastern Kingbird

Tyrannus tyrannus



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Figure 1. Distribution of the Eastern Kingbird in North America.

This species overwinters in South America. See text for details.

Figure 2. Annual cycle of breeding and migration of Eastern Kingbird in New York.

Molt schedules assumed from data given in Dwight 1900. Thick lines show peak activity; thin lines, off-peak.

Figure 3. Night roost of Eastern Kingbirds in Santa Cruz, Peru.

Credit: Rosalind Renfrew.

Figure 4. Example of capture of large prey that are then eaten whole.

Credits: Pete and Gretchen Pederson.

Figure 5. Common vocalizations of the Eastern Kingbird.

Regularly Repeated Vocalization (A) is main advertising song. Upper example is from Massachusetts, lower from Manitoba. The two most common vocalizations are zeer (B) and chatter-zeer (C). All sonograms from Smith 1966.

Figure 6. Flocking during the nonbreeding season.

During the nonbreeding season, Eastern Kingbirds flock extensively both during migration and on the wintering grounds (as shown here). In addition, they switch from a mainly insectivorous diet during the breeding season to one that includes mainly fruit. Drawing by J. Zickefoose.

Figure 7. Growth of nestling Eastern Kingbirds in Kansas.

Data from Murphy 1981 and 1988.

Figure 8. Adult Eastern Kingbird feeding a fledgling a dragonfly.

Example of large whole prey being fed to young. Credit: Peter Riley.

Figure 9. Relative abundance of Eastern Kingbird during the breeding season.

Based on data from the North American Breeding Bird Survey, 2011–2015. See Sauer et al. (2017) for details.

Figure 10. Regional trends in Eastern Kingbird breeding populations.

Based on data from the North American Breeding Bird Survey, 1966–2015 (Sauer et al. 2017). Data show estimates of annual population change over the range of the survey; areas of increase are shown in blue and declines are shown in red. See Sauer et al. (2017) for details.

Figure 11. Population trends for Eastern Kingbird and American Crow.

Population trend estimates from the Breeding Bird Survey for the period between 1966 and 2015 (Sauer et al. 2017) for Eastern Kingbird (EAKB) and American Crow (AMCR) for 51 provinces and states plotted against longitude at the midpoint of each political entity. Second-order polynomial of trend estimate against longitude significant for both Eastern Kingbird (r² = 0.437, P ≤ 0.05 for both terms) and American Crow (r² = 0.271, P ≤ 0.05 for both terms).

Recommended Citation

Murphy, M. T. and P. Pyle. 2018. Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.