With similar mannerisms to
the Eastern Kingbird, the Western Kingbird
can often be found perched on roadsides fences as it watches for insects.
Very aggressive, they are fierce defenders of their nests and young, often
driving away birds as large as hawks. Western Kingbirds have adapted extremely
well to the presence of humans, and can sometimes be found nesting well within
urban areas. They are more common in the western part of South Dakota, but
they can be found statewide.
Habitat: Prefers semi-open terrain with
scattered patches of trees for nesting. Can sometimes be found within urban
areas, and will nest on man-made structures when trees are absent.
Diet: Primarily insects. Also sometimes
takes fruits and berries.
Behavior: Usually feeds by observing from a perch,
and flying out to catch insects in mid-air, in typical flycatcher fashion.
They also are very capable of hovering, dropping down to catch prey when
Nesting: June and July
Song: Short, relatively quiet kek call. Also a brash, chattering staccato call.
Migration: Summers in the western 1/2 of the United
States. Primarily winters in central and South America, although some do
over-winter in Florida and other strays are occasionally found along the
East Coast in the Fall.
Similar Species: In South Dakota, similar to
Kingbird (found only in the western part of the state). Also similar to
Couch's Kingbird (not found near South Dakota).
Conservation Status: Has expanded its range to the east during
the last several decades. Common and widespread, and possibly still
expanding its range.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology - Western Kingbird
Photo Information: July 17th, 2004 -- Richland
Wildlife Area -- Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Western Kingbird photos.