English and Scientific names:

Couch’s Kingbird (Tyrannus couchii)

Number of individuals: 

One, apparent first-winter (SY) (sex unknown)

Locality: LOUISIANA: 

Lafayette Parish

Specific Locality:

Judice Park off Golden Grain Rd. (LA-342), nr. Ridge

Date(s) when observed:

2 January 2010

Time(s) of day when observed:  

~1:00 – 1:30 PM CST

Reporting observer and address:

Devin Bosler 

Lancaster, PA 17601

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

Justin Bosler

Other observers who independently identified the bird(s)

Kevin Leigh (discovered bird on 29 December 2009), Michael Musumeche (refound on Lafayette CBC – 30 December 2009), James Beck, Paul Conover, m. ob.  – last observed on 23 January 2010 (fide Eric Liffmann).

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

Partly cloudy sky with optimal midday sunlight.  Sun angle high and backlighting not a factor.

Optical equipment: 

Zeiss Victory FL 8x42, Kowa TSN 881 Angled 88mm scope w/ 20-60x optical zoom, Canon Poershot SD1100 IS digital camera (all equipment in excellent condition).

Distance to bird(s): 

ca. 10-15 meters

Duration of observation:

~30 min.


Semi-open, rural residential park with adjacent ag. lands and scattered mature live oaks.   Tree-lined coulee (hackberry-tallow) with lush privet thickets.

Behavior of bird: 

Actively fly-catching insects and sallying for Chinese tallow fruits.  Vocalizing frequently while foraging and at rest.  Observed in flight during foraging attempts.



Large, yellow-bellied kingbird with olive-gray upperparts and gray head.  Throat white, olive-yellow breast blending to bright, lemon yellow belly and undertail coverts.  Dark mask on face.  Dark brown wings and tail.  Tail strongly notched.  Relatively heavy black bill.  Absence of notching on outer primaries suggests a first-winter (SY) individual.  Retained juvenal flight feathers and juvenal (tapered) rectrices.  Body molt in juveniles complete by fall.  Dark irides.  Black tarsi and feet.


Loud, monosyllabic ‘kip’ calls given as single note or in short series.

Similar species:

Very similar to Tropical Kingbird (TRKI) but separated reliably by voice.  Diagnostic ‘kip’ calls eliminate TRKI (rapid trill).

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?

Yes, digiscoped by Devin Bosler.  Yes, attached.

Previous experience with this species: 

Very familiar with this species from seeing hundreds over the years in TX, plus two prior individuals in LA – 28 Jan 2006 (Red River Parish) and self-found on 20 Jan 2007 (Vermilion Parish).

Identification aids:

National Geographic Complete Birds of N.A. (Alderfer et al. 2005).

This description is written from: 

notes made during the observation, notes made after the observation, memory.

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


Yes, very positive.

Date and time: 

23 January 2010, 5:30 PM EST