Western Kingbird (Photo: Creative Commons)

Western Kingbird

Look For

Among our common flycatchers, the western kingbird, with its pale gray head, white throat, and lemon yellow belly, stands out. In flight, the black tail shows white edges.

Listen For

Short squeaky call notes. Also a series of explosive, sputtery squeaks like a squeeze toy getting chewed on by several puppies at once: pick! peepick! pick! peekaboo!


Where their ranges overlap, the western kingbird prefers more open habitat than the eastern kingbird.

Find It

Common in summer throughout the West in open country with scattered trees and along roadside fences in farmyards and towns. Perches in the open, flying out to catch insects in the air.


Western kingbirds will boldly attack a crow, raven, or hawk that passes near their nesting territory.

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