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Western Kingbird

Tyrannus verticalis

Truly a bird of the Western US, the Western Kingbird can be found in the summer in nearly every state west of the Mississippi River. In former times, this bird was called the “Arkansas Kingbird.” In winter these birds head south to the Pacific slopes of southern Mexico and Central America.

In southern California when these birds come north to breed, they can be confused with Cassin’s Kingbirds which are found (and heard) year-round. When seen, I find it easiest to look at the tail of these two birds. The Cassin’s has a pale band at the tip of their tail feathers forming a band, where the Western Kingbird has a pale edge, on both the left and right side of its tail.

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