Bird Profile: Western Kingbird

A large flycatcher with a yellow belly, pale grey head and breast and a black tail with white stripes down the sides, the Western Kingbird is one of my favorite birds. Eating mostly insects, the Kingbird is always ready to snatch its next meal; whether from a perch or on the ground.

Nesting in tall cottonwoods along river valleys, the Western Kingbird can be difficult to find in Calgary. Probably the best spot in the city to look for this neat bird is Lafarge Meadows, in Fish Creek, south of 22x where they nest.

More social than other kingbirds, at times, several pairs of Western Kingbird may be found nesting in the same tree. They readily attack crows, ravens, hawks and other larger birds that can be potential predators to them and their young.

The Western Kingbird has a distinguishing lemon yellow belly.

Posted by Matthew Sim

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2 thoughts on “Bird Profile: Western Kingbird

  1. I just found out yesterday from the Utah BirdTalk listserv, that Western Kingbirds have a red patch on their crown, similar to a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, that is rarely shown in field guides and rarely seen in nature. A Google image search will show some photos. I thought that was pretty cool to learn.

    • Thanks for the info Bob – I didn’t know that either. I’ll be peering at all Western Kingbirds a little closer from now on! Pat Bumstead

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