English and Scientific names:

Couch’s Kingbird (Tyrannus couchii)

Number of individuals: 

1 ad.

Locality: LOUISIANA: 

Bossier Parish

Specific Locality:

First observed at Cane’s Landing on Red River. In area 150 yds -+nnw of dropoff near fenceline between the high field and ponds area- flying to ene toward woods between neighborhood and “junk” area.

Date(s) when observed:

11-27,28,29-2007 ,12-01,03-2007

Time(s) of day when observed:  

1. 11-27-07= 1115-1215-on and off during this time, at which point I was sure by structure and morphology that it was a Couch's, although the smallish size did stick out 2. 11-28-07=1100-05, 3. 11-29-07 1115-20. 12-01-07=1045-1048 12-03-07=1140-1145

Reporting observer and address:

Terry Davis

Bossier City, La.

Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s):


  1. Jeff Trahan, who also photo'd on 11-27.
  2. 2 Jack Land; 12-03-07 Who photo'd bird and elicited definite Couch's vocals w/ ipod

Other observers accompanying reporter who independently identified the bird(s):

Charlie Lyon 11-28?-07 who elicited first definite Couch's vocalizations w/ i-pod.

Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light):

Various, with bird both backlit and at good light angle.

Optical equipment: 

Brunton eterna 11x45 in good optical condition.

Distance to bird(s): 

Various- from 30' to 100 yds.

Duration of observation:

variable, from 5 minutes to off-and-on an hour.


Woodland edge/ old field, somewhat riparian.

Behavior of bird: 

Bird was first observed on 11-27 flying to ene. Jeff and I near simultaneously spotted the bird. He, with a slight jump on me, exclaimed how yellow below bird appeared. I had brief looks at the bird going away at a bad light angle. I noted the pale tail and said it looks CO/TR but could yet possibly be a Weki due to bad light. We relocated bird a few minutes later in top of large cottonwood approx 800 yds to ene, next to a small metal building. Jeff Trahan photo'd w 100 mm and then returned to vehicle for larger lens. I stayed on bird. Shortly before Jeff's return, bird relocated 75 yards to ene to top of another large/ mostly dead dead cottonwood. Jeff returned and photo'd bird which relocated again to E/S into the top of a fairly large flat-topped Hackberry. He was able to get more photos before the bird flew again to ene and disappeared within edge of woods bordering neighborhood. Everything I had seen about the bird looked Couch's up until this moment-other than small size. I indicated to Jeff I thought it was a Couch's 2. On 11-28, I observed the bird from 1100-05 along fenceline between ponds and high field- about same spot as we first saw bird. It was sallying at a lower level of 20-+ feet using near leafless Black? Mulberry for perch. In same area on 11-29,from 1115-20. Seen on 12-01, it was farther toward river to w/wsw at hedge of deeper woods, and higher in larger Black Mulberry. On 12-03- W/Jack Land, the bird was called in with i-pod to large hackberry within 30yds yds of 11-28,29 sightings. The bird acted very territorial in response to the i-pod call duplication. We did not continue to play the call or further harass bird



On days when all details seen really well- The bird is a large flycatcher/ med. large kingbird.It does look smallish for the species and definitely smaller than individual(s) seen on 08-08,15, and 09-11-07 The dark bill appears proportionately short and rather thick, with lower mandible somewhat convex as upper. The tail is paleish w/ non-contrasting edges or tip, appears parallel-edged and proportionately short w/ a sqare tip, or faintly double rounded/convex double-tipped appearance w/ faint notched center. The bird was bright yellow below from undertail coverts to upper-chest, slightly paler yellow there and grading into a grayish white upper chest and throat. The cheeks below eye slighly brighter white w/ dark grayish/pale blackish masked appearance at rear of eye. The crown was med. pale-grayish. The mantle is yellow-green and brighter than the wings which were grayer, wingbars very faint, non contrasting overall to rest of wings.



On 12-03-07 w/ Jack Land= Excited string of snappy, rich, high and level, to slightly ascending hard "pip" calls and "pip-preer" call with "preer" portion lower and sounding cleanly burry w/"metallicly-trilled" quality. The "preer" call slighly ascends and then descends. The "preer" call also heard by itself, uttered slightly less audibly 1-2 times


Similar species:

Tropical Kingbird- eliminated by voice, less so by bill and tail structure/ shape and plumage morphologyWestern Kingbird- by voice and more upward extension of yellow below. By tail which was pale and non-contrasty (vs dark w/ thin white outer edges)


Photographs or tape recordings obtained?

Photos will be provided by Jeff Trahan and possibly Jack Land.


Previous experience with this species: 

In years past I observed several individuals at different areas between Choke Canyon and RGV in Texas. There was a Couch's observed at this same locality in Nov of 2006. Have studied the species somewhat extensively in past 3 years.


Identification aids:

memory- scant notes. Sibley slightly afterward.

This description is written from: 

Both from scant notes and memory

Are you positive of your identification? If not, explain: 




Terry Davis

Date and time: 

12-08-07 1935h