English and Scientific names:

Gray Kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis)

Number of individuals:

1 adult

 

Locality: LOUISIANA:

Jefferson Parish

Specific Locality:

TNC Landry-LeBlanc Tract (Sureway Woods) on Post Ln., Grand Isle

Date(s) when observed:

19 April 2008

Time(s) of day when observed:

~5:00 PM CDT

Reporting observer and address:

Devin Bosler

Baton Rouge, LA 70808

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

 

Justin Bosler, EJ Raynor

Other observers who independently identified the bird(s):

none

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

Clear sky w/ optimal late afternoon sunlight. Sun angle still relatively high and not a factor. Sun opposite the bird and behind observers.

Optical equipment:

Zeiss Victory FL 8x42, Canon ZR830 digital video camcorder (equipment in excellent condition)

Distance to bird(s):

ca. 5-10 meters

Duration of observation:

~15 min.

Habitat:

Mature coastal, live oak-honey locust-pecan-sugarberry woodlot w/ semi-open canopy and patches of dense understory. Undergrowth comprised of elderberry-privet-yaupon thickets. The kingbird was located in the more open, less vegetated section of woodlot.

Behavior of bird:

The kingbird was initially spotted amid a flurry of bird activity around a termite outbreak at a cavity of a live oak. Yellow-billed Cuckoos, Eastern Kingbirds, vireos, warblers, and tanagers were swarming mid-story in pursuit of termites exiting the cavity. The kingbird appeared suddenly and competed w/ Easterns for a perch and food. It was observed at rest, foraging, and in flight. It would sallying out from a snag to catch fleeing termites and rest on a snag b/w feeding attempts. The kingbird was actively fly-catching throughout the observation. Eventually, it departed the woodlot and continued on toward the east.

Description:

A large flycatcher w/ uniform gray head and upperparts and entirely white underparts w/ a faint grayish wash on breast and sides. Brownish tinge to upperwings and tail w/ pale-edged upperwing coverts and secondaries. An apparent dark mask that contrasts markedly w/ gray head and whitish throat. Tail distinctly notched. A diagnostic large, black bill. Dark brown irides and black tarsi/feet.

 

Voice:

silent

Similar species:

Most flycatchers can be eliminated by the robust size and structure of Gray Kingbird (GRAK). Most kingbirds can be eliminated by the gray above and white below plumage pattern. Eastern Kingbird (EAKI) can be eliminated by the larger size, lighter upperparts, long/thick bill, and non-white-tipped tail w/ distinct notch. The difference in size b/w GRAK and EAKI was striking.

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?

Video by Devin Bosler. Yes, video images attached.

Previous experience with this species:

Very familiar with GRKI from several trips to coastal FL, a previous encounter in LA, and PAs first state record. One observed at Grand Isle (Jefferson) on 29 Apr 2006. A first state record for PA at Pomeroy (Chester) on 13 Dec 2004. Most recently observed in s. FL on 22,23,24 Aug 2006.

 

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

Reporter:

Devin Bosler

Date and time:

22 April 2008 3:30 PM CDT