Common Name

Scientific Name


Photo by Tim Provan
Photo Courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

The western kingbird, Tyrannus verticalis, occurs in western and central North America during its spring and summer breeding season. The species is migratory, with most individuals moving to Central America or the southeastern United States for the winter. The western kingbird is a common breeder throughout Utah, preferring open and semi-open habitats, such as deserts and grasslands.

Western kingbirds nest in trees, bushes, and other raised areas, such as buildings. Interestingly, multiple western kingbird pairs may nest in the same tree. Females generally lay three to five eggs, which hatch in about two weeks; young are attended to by both parents.

The diet of the species is composed primarily of insects, although spiders, fruits, and even small vertebrates may also be consumed. Western kingbirds are active during the day.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Peterson, R. T., and V. M. Peterson. 1990. A field guide to western birds, 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin, Boston. 432 pp.