Couch’s Kingbird

Tyrannus couchii

This bird is nearly identical in appearance to the Tropical Kingbird. Where their ranges overlap, only by hearing it can you be sure of its identity. This bird’s range is from Yucatan in the south and along the gulf coast to southern Texas, where we find them year-round. During the summer, some birds will range slightly north into Central Texas and then retreat south after breeding.

They named this bird in honor of Major General Darius Nash Couch, a respected soldier in the US Army. Prior to the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861, he took leave from the military and worked for the Smithsonian for two years (1853-1854) on a scientific mission in northern Mexico. He is credited for discovering the kingbird that now bears his name and a toad, now named the Couch’s Spadefoot Toad. During this period in his life, he also contracted an illness that plagued him for the rest of his life.

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