Grey Kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis)

Grey Kingbird

[order] Passeriformes | [family] Tyrannidae | [latin] Tyrannus dominicensis | [UK] Grey Kingbird | [FR] Tyran gris | [DE] Grauer Konigstyrann | [ES] Tirano Dominicano | [IT] Tiranno di Dominica | [NL] Grijze Koningstiran


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Tyrannus dominicensis NA se USA, West Indies Panama to Guyana
Tyrannus dominicensis dominicensis
Tyrannus dominicensis vorax

Physical charateristics

The adult Grey Kingbird is 23 cm long and weighs 47g. The upperparts are grey, with brownish wings and tail, and the underparts are white with a grey tinge to the chest. The head has a concealed yellow crown stripe, and a dusky mask through the eyes. The dark bill is heavier than that of the related, slightly smaller, Tropical Kingbird. The sexes are similar, but young birds have rufous edges on the wing coverts, rump and tail.

Listen to the sound of Grey Kingbird

[audio: Kingbird.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 21 cm size max.: 25 cm
incubation min.: 14 days incubation max.: 15 days
fledging min.: 16 days fledging max.: 18 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 4  


It breeds from the extreme southeast of the USA through Central America, from Cuba to Puerto Rico as well as eastward towards all across the Lesser West Indies, south to Venezuela, Trinidad, Tobago the Guiana and Colombia.


The Gray Kingbird was formerly restricted to open coastal woodlands and beaches with scattered trees. However, it is now equally at home in developed areas, where it is often found inland. The bird perches on exposed limbs, power lines, or television antennas. From these vantage points it scans the area for flying insects, which it catches by means of a short, fluttering flight, often low above the ground or the water’s surface. Fruits, berries, and small vertebrates are also eaten.


The nests are commonly placed from 1.2 to 3.7 m above the ground in mangroves (especially red mangroves) or oaks overhanging the water, occasionally in coastal pines. The nest is a flimsy structure, loosely constructed of twigs and the stems of marsh grasses, and is lined with fine grasses or rootlets. A clutch consists of 3 or 4 pinkish eggs incubated for about 2 weeks. Young leave the nest after about 16 days and care for about 3 more weeks.

Feeding habits

Gray Kingbirds wait on an exposed perch high in a tree, occasionally sallying out to feed on insects, their staple diet.


This species has a large range, with an estimated global extent of occurrence of 580,000 km². It has a large global population estimated to be 780,000 individuals (Rich et al. 2003). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e., declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Grey Kingbird status Least Concern


Nonbreeding visitor to west and north Colombia, much of Venezuela, Guianas, and extreme north Brazil. Breeds locally in central Venezuela, and on Trinidad and Tobago, the Netherlands Antilles, and possibly in north Colombia. Breeds mainly in West Indies and south east United States, wintering primarily in northern South America and Panama.

Distribution map

Grey Kingbird range map


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