English and Scientific names:

Great Kiskadee  Pitangus sulphuratus

Number of individuals: 


Locality: LOUISIANA: 


Specific Locality:

Just east of Sabine Pass

Date(s) when observed:

13 April 2008

Time(s) of day when observed:  

about 0800

Reporting observer and address:

Jon L. Dunn

Bishop, CA

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


Will Russell and entire Wings group, all of whom saw the bird, most of whom got brief scope views.

Other observers who independently identified the bird(s):

Certainly Will Russell; probably others

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

Pretty good; initially came out of the general direction of the sun, but passed us and perched on wire in perfect light

Optical equipment: 

8 x 42 Leica binoculars; 77 mm Leica telescope with 32 mm eyepiece

Distance to bird(s): 

flew right past us and then perched on wire, perhaps 30 yards away.

Duration of observation:

A couple of minutes


Very open salt marsh and open water, plus the highway with telephone lines.

Behavior of bird: 

Here are my notes from my notebook and part of what I submitted to Donna Dittmann on 28 May:  We were near the bridge (TX line) or just east of it, where we could see the bay to the south.  The bird flew in from the southeast and past us and briefly landed on a telephone wire.  I got it in the scope and the group got scope views.  I went to get the digital camera, but it flew on to the northwest and out of sight (heading to Texas).  We had it in perfect light.  When in flight at a distance, I initially guessed Western Kingbird when I saw the yellow belly, but then immediately called Kiskadee when I saw that the belly was extensively bright yellow and that it had a black-and-white head.


This was a stocky flycatcher with bright yellow belly.  Also striking was the black-and-white head with a black mask that was bordered by a very white supercilium and a white throat.  The wings and tail seemed to be a solid and bright cinnamon-rufous.  It was fairly big billed.  I was never able to see the center of the crown and it was silent.



Similar species:

The combination of the bright yellow belly, black-and-white head and essentially the solid rufous wings and tail leaves little choices other than Great Kiskadee.  Social Flycatcher is eliminated by size, and the cinnamon wings. It also has a tiny bill.  I've seen many Social Flycatchers in Mexico and Belize and it wasn't that species.  I have no field experience with Lesser Kiskadee, but this bird seemed big billed, and I note that Lesser Kiskadee has a slender bill and is also smaller.  This bird certainly was sized as a Kiskadee, or at least so it appeared.  The cinnamon wings eliminates eliminates at least some South American races of Great Kiskadee too.

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?

None.  I was rushing to get my digital camera when it flew off the wire and towards Texas.

Previous experience with this species: 

I've seen many hundreds in south Texas and Mexico.  I once saw a wintering bird in southeastern New Mexico.

Identification aids:

I've checked Hilty's Colombia book on Lesser Kiskadee

This description is written from: 

Brief notes written later in day and description sent to Donna Dittmann on 28 May 2008; Donna forwarded it to Steve Cardiff for NAB and asked me to submit the report to the LBRC on their web site form.  Sorry it took so long!

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




Jon L. Dunn

Date and time: 

11 January 2009 (11:52 a.m.)