Cassin’s Kingbird

photo by Phil Swanson

Tyrannus vociferans
L 9″ (23 cm).

Song or calls:
Listen (NGPC audio)

Noisy, loud β€œchi-beer!”, and a rapid β€œchi-beer, ch-beer-beer-beer-r-r.”

Description: Sexes similar. Olive-gray back and wings; medium gray head and breast; relatively short bill; contrasting white chin; dull yellow belly; and dark brown tail that lacks white edges on outer tail feathers as in Western Kingbird. Orange-red crown patch is usually concealed. Juvenile is duller, browner above, and paler below.

Bird Map
Habitat: Associated with dry, open habitats such as plains and semi-deserts, where there are only scattered tall trees.

Where in Nebraska: Uncommon spring and fall migrant, and regular summer resident in the western Panhandle. No definite nesting records, but surely breeds in Nebraska.

Field Notes: Overlaps widely with the Western Kingbird, and probably competes locally with it.

Fun Facts: During courting Cassin’s Kingbirds fly and hover in the air together with outstretched wings and high-pitched calls sevearal times a day.

Cassin's Kingbird - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)