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CLIPBOARD : BREEDING BIRD: WESTERN KINGBIRD (Tyrannus verticalis)

October 02, 1990

Description: Lemon yellow belly and ashen gray head; distinctive black tail with narrow white edging on outer feathers. Dark wings contrast with paler olive back and bill is shorter than other similar species. Orange-red crown patch is usually concealed. Juvenile has paler yellow belly and brownish tinge on breast as well as buffy edged wing coverts. Length: 8 inches. Habitat: Roadsides, savanna, dry open country, agricultural lands, wires. Diet: Berries and insects. Displays: In frenetic courtship flight, male darts into air, fluttering, vibrating feathers, and trilling. Nest: Usually on horizontal branch near tree trunk or on man-made structure; lined with plant down, cotton or hair. Eggs: White, creamy, pinkish hues blotched with brown, lavender or gray; 1 inch long. Notes: The Western Kingbird is the most widespread of its species in California. Voice: Shrill, bickering calls; common call is a sharp whit or whit-ker-whit. Breeding bird atlas: To report bird breeding activity in your neighborhood, or to get information on the breeding bird atlas (now in its fifth and final year), call Sea and Sage Audubon Society members Sylvia Gallagher, (714) 962-8990, or Nancy Kenyon, (714) 786-3160. Note: Map is divided into 5-kilometer squares so that Audubon Society volunteers can more easily survey areas on a regular basis. Sources: Sea and Sage Audubon Society; "The Birder's Handbook," Ehrlich, Dobkin and Wheye, Fireside Books (1988); "Field Guide to the Birds of North America," National Geographic Society (1987); "Birds of Southern California: Status and Distribution," Garrett and Dunn, Los Angeles Audubon Society (1981).

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