The Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus) is a large tyrant flycatcher with a relatively large bill and long, slightly notched tail. The overall length is 18.4-23.0 cm (7.2-9 in) and mass is 32-43 g. The top and sides of the head are gray with dusky auriculars and lores. They have a concealed reddish-orange crown- patch (smaller in female). The back and rump is grayish olive. The wings are dull brown or blackish, coverts edged gray and secondaries edged whitish. In males, the inner webs of the outer primaries are distinctly notched (females slightly so). The tail and uppertail-coverts are brownish black and slightly notched. Throat is grayish white, shading to pale gray on foreneck. The remaining underparts are yellow; chest tinged olive; bill and feet black. The sexes are similar except where noted above, and there is almost no seasonal change in plumage. Immatures closely resemble adults, but may be distinguished primarily by red feathers in crown reduced or lacking, and notches on all or most outer primaries lacking.
Breeds in southeastern Arizona (uncommon and local), south through portions of Mexico and Central America south to central Peru, Guianas, and central Argentina. Northern Winter: Sonora and northeastern Mexico south through breeding range, very rarely to Pacific Coast.
Their voice is twittering trills. This species is one of a group of Mexican birds that make a post-breeding reverse migration in the late summer and fall northward along the Pacific Coast (ENature 2003). It is as aggressive against intruders like the great kiskadee and will chase after big birds like the yellow-headed caracara. Adults have been taken by Aplomado Falcons in Mexico. Swallow-tailed Kites and Chestnut-mandibled Toucans depredate eggs and nestlings.
- Arizona Game and Fish Department. 2003. Tyrannus melancholicus. Unpublished abstract compiled and edited by the Heritage Data Management System, Arizona Game and Fish Department, Phoenix, AZ
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