Couchs Kingbird (Tyrannus couchii)

Couchs Kingbird

Couchs Kingbird (Tyrannus couchii)

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Tyrannidae | [latin] Tyrannus couchii | [UK] Couchs Kingbird | [FR] Tyran de Couch | [DE] Texastyrann | [ES] Tirano Silbador | [NL] Texaanse Koningstiran


Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

Back olive, head gray with dark mask through eye, belly bright yellow . Very similar to Western and Cassin’s kingbirds, but tail slightly forked , dusky
i brown , not black, without white edgings . Little or no gray across breast. Almost identical to the Tropical Kingbird with which it was formerly lumped. The common kingbird of the lower Rio Grande.

Listen to the sound of Couchs Kingbird

[audio: Kingbird.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

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North America, Middle America : East Mexico to Belize, also South Texas


River groves, scattered trees.
In southern Texas, found mainly in native woodland near rivers, also in dense brushland or chaparral, especially near water. May also occur around larger trees in towns. In Mexico, found in semi-open country, roadsides, forest edges.


Nesting behavior is not well known, probably similar to that of Tropical Kingbird. Adults are aggressive in chasing larger birds away from the vicinity of the nest.
Nest: Site is usually on horizontal limb of tree, 8-
25′ above the ground. Nest (probably built by female) is a bulky flat cup of twigs, leaves, Spanish moss, weeds, and strips of bark, lined with fine materials such as plant down, rootlets, and softer parts of Spanish moss.
Eggs: 3-4, sometimes 5. Pinkish to warm buff, blotched with brown and lavender. Details of incubation not well known, but probably by female, a little over 2 weeks.
Young: Probably both parents feed young. Age of young at first flight not well known, probably between 2 and 3 weeks.

Feeding habits

Mostly insects.
Diet is not known in detail, but apparently feeds mostly on insects, including large ones such as beetles, grasshoppers, wasps, and large flies. Also eats some berries and small fruits.
Forages mostly by watching from a perch, then flying out to capture insects, returning to perch to eat them. Many insects are caught in midair; also hovers briefly while taking them from foliage, and may swoop down to take insects from just above (or on)
the ground.


This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Couchs Kingbird status Least Concern


Southern Texas; eastern Mexico to Belize and Guatemala. Migration: Present all year in southern Texas, but more common in summer; winter numbers are variable. Rarely strays north along Gulf Coast; accidental east to Florida.

Distribution map

Couchs Kingbird distribution range map

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