Kingbirds are one of the "tyrant flycatchers". They will defend it's
nest in an extremely aggressive manner, even attacking much larger birds
that come too close. As with other flycatchers, they often feed by
observing from a perch and flying out to catch insects in mid-air.
Eastern Kingbirds are very common sights in the summer along fence lines and
posts in most of the state.
Habitat: Woodland edges, roadsides,
farms, shelterbelts, scattered trees. Requires open space for hunting and trees
Diet: Mostly insects, including
grasshoppers, flies, beetles, bees, and wasps. Also will eat fruit and
Behavior: In addition to capturing flying insects,
Eastern Kingbirds will also hover and glean insects from vegetation foliage
and other surfaces. While they are extremely territorial during their
summer months in South Dakota, they form large flocks in their wintering
grounds in South America.
Nesting: Early June through July. The nest of an
Eastern Kingbird is a cup of grasses, sticks, weeds, and other vegetative
material. The female usually lays 3 or 4 eggs, and she does the majority
of the incubation. When the eggs hatch, both parents help feed the young.
The young fledge after about 18 days, but parents typically continue to feed the
young for several weeks after fledging occurs.
Migration: Neotropical migrant, wintering in South America.
Summers throughout most of the eastern three-fourths of the United States,
and southern Canada.
Similar Species: Generally distinctive throughout most of the United
States. Very similar to the
Loggerhead Kingbird, a rare vagrant from the Caribbean to southern Florida
and the Florida Keys.
Conservation Status: There are indications that
populations are declining in some areas. However, they are still found
over a wide geographic range, have a high overall population, and are common in
some areas. The
IUCN lists the Eastern Kingbird as a species of "Least Concern".
Cornell University's "All About Birds - Eastern Kingbird"
eNature.com: Eastern Kingbird
Photo Information: May 26th, 2003 -- Minnehaha
County -- Terry L. Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Eastern Kingbird photos.