Eastern Kingbirds


Eastern Kingbirds are medium-sized, large-headed flycatchers that are blackish on the back and white underneath. Their heads are darker black, and they have a white tip on the tail.

They get their name ‘king’ from the aggression they show each other and other birds when defending their nests. They have a concealed crown of yellow, orange, or red feathers, which they raise when defending themselves or their nest.

  • Tyrannus tyrannus
  • Length: 7.5 – 9.1 in (19 – 23 cm)
  • Weight: 1.2 – 1.9 oz (33 – 55 g)
  • Wingspan: 13.0 – 15.0 in (33 – 38 cm)


They breed in the US before heading south into Central and South America for winter. 

Habitat And Diet

They usually breed in fields, orchards, and along forest edges.  They can often be found nesting near water, such as rivers or lakes.

Eastern Kingbirds catch insects in midair, including bees, wasps, ants, beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, bugs, and flies. They will often perch up above fields waiting for insects to fly past. They will also eat fruit, including serviceberries, cherries, blackberries, and elderberries.

Eastern Kingbirds Call:


Nests of Eastern Kingbirds are found in open spaces atop trees or shrubs, usually on top of a stump or pole. The female builds the nest using small twigs, roots, dry weed stems, and strips of bark, and in urban settings, may include plastic and cigarette butts.

The male stays with the female while she builds to protect her or to prevent her from taking up with another mate. After about two weeks of building the nest, the female will lay two to five eggs. Incubation will take another fourteen to seventeen days.

Attract Eastern Kingbirds

Attract them to your yard with native berry bushes and having lots of native vegetation that attracts insects.

Fun Fact:

Eastern Kingbirds are not named “King” for nothing. Both males and females fight aggressively against all predators, big and small alike. They will reveal their bright crests, open their bills wide to show a red gape, and then dive-bomb their attackers.