Thick-billed Kingbird (Tyrannus crassirostris)

Thick-billed Kingbird

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Tyrannidae | [latin] Tyrannus crassirostris | [UK] Thick-billed Kingbird | [FR] Tyran brun | [DE] Dickschnabel-Tyrann | [ES] Tirano Piquigrueso | [NL] Diksnavelkoningstiran


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Tyrannus crassirostris NA, MA sw USA to Guatemala
Tyrannus crassirostris crassirostris
Tyrannus crassirostris pompalis

Physical charateristics

A large kingbird with an outsize bill ; differs from similar kingbirds in having a dark cap and back and whitish
underparts. However, autumn birds may be quite yellow below.

Listen to the sound of Thick-billed Kingbird

[audio: Kingbird.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

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North America, Middle America : Southwest USA to Guatemala


Sycamores and cottonwoods along streams. In the United States, breeds alo
ng permanent streams in the lowlands and lower canyons; mostly where big sycamores and cottonwoods grow, occasionally in pure stands of cottonwoods. In Mexico, widespread in dry woods and semi-open country in lowlands.


Breeding behavior is not well known. Aggressive in defense of nesting territory, attacking larger birds that come near nest. Both members of mated pairs often perch close together, quivering wings and calling loudly.
Nest: Site is usually high in tall tree (in Arizona, typically in sycamore, sometimes in cottonwood), 50-
80′ above the ground. Nest is a large but loosely built open cup of twigs, grasses, weeds, leaves, plant down. Nest has a ragged look, with twigs sticking out in all directions; from below, eggs may be visible through bottom of nest.
Eggs: 3-4. Whitish, blotched with brown. Details of incubation not well known.
Young: Both parents bring food for young in nest. Development of young and age at first flight not well known.

Feeding habits

Diet is not well known, but probably is mostly or entirely insects. Large bill size suggests the ability to feed on very large insects; has been seen eating large beetles, cicadas, and others.
Behavior: Forages by watching from a perch and flying out to capture insect
s, returning to perch to eat them. Captures most prey in midair, often in long, swooping flights. Usually hunts from high perches near tops of trees but will forage low, especially in cool weather.


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.
Thick-billed Kingbird status Least Concern


Western Mexico, western Guatemala. Breeds locally in southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico; rarely in western Texas. Migration:
Summer resident in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico, arriving in May and departing in September. Strays sometimes wander to lower Colorado River or southern coastal California in fall and winter.

Distribution map

Thick-billed Kingbird distribution range map

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