LOUISIANA BIRD RECORDS COMMITTEE REPORT FORM
1. English and Scientific names: Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus)
2. Number of individuals, sexes, ages, general plumage (e.g., 2 in alternate plumage): 1
3. Locality: LOUISIANA: (parish) ___Caddo_________________________________________
Specific Locality: _Mooringsport- 409 E Croom St, between Miller and Ferry and less than 1/2 mile Northeast of downtown Mooringsport.
4. Date(s) when observed: 12/02/12, 12/06/12
5. Time(s) of day when observed:
6. Reporting observer and address: Terry Davis 2327 Walnut, Apt C Bossier City, La.
7. Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s): 12/02/12= Rosemary Seidler, Ronnie Maum, Willie Matthews, 12-06= Jeff Trahan
8. Other observers who independently identified the bird(s):
9. Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light): 12/02- bird was initially observed at a bad sun angle to the East. However, it was also observed to North, Northeast, then with a really good sun angle to the West. 12/06= Cloudy- Bird was observed flying from North, then overhead and perching in the pecan to our South.
10. Optical equipment (type, power, condition): Brunton Eterna 11 x 45 binoculars in worn aesthetic but good optical condition.
11. Distance to bird(s): ~40 feet to ~75 yards
12. Duration of observation: 12/02/12=30 minutes, 12/06/12= 5 minutes.
13. Habitat: Older, open, grassy, somewhat hilly and manicured neighborhood with well-spaced houses along a point jutting North from near the East end and on the South shore of Caddo Lake. Larger trees spaced but somewhat closer along E Croom in the immediate viewing area. There are wide, open grassy spaces with few trees North toward the point, Southeast between houses and the road, then Southwest and West beyond Croom, between there and the lake. Some houses and trees also spaced closer along Ferry to the Northeast. Few large shrubs except last house on W side of Croom and some along Ferry
14. Behavior of bird / circumstances of observation (flying, feeding, resting; include and stress habits used in identification; relate events surrounding observation):
15. Description (include only what was actually seen, not what "should" have been seen; include if possible: total length/relative size compared to other familiar species, body bulk, shape, proportions, bill, eye, leg, and plumage characteristics. Stress features that separate it from similar species): First off, our group was there only to confirm the identitiy of the bird, whether Couch's or Tropical. The bird was actually found the previous day during the Caddo Lake Christmas Bird Count- warm-up on 12/01-12 by Carolyn Phillips, Lily Poole, Martha Lennard and Shirley Huss
12/02= Medium-large kingbird with fairly long but somewhat thick bill, bright yellow below in lower breast through belly, whitish throat and sides of face and whitish-gray upper breast. Gray head with diffuse, somewhat broad darker mask through and behind eye. Comparatively darker and grayish-green back and comparatively darker wings with more contrasting paler edges to feathers. Tail broader toward tip and forked when relaxed. When first observed, the mantle of the bird looked grayer, more Tropical Kingbird-like. However, the bill at the initial viewing angle looked shorter and thicker. The tail also appeared equal width throughout length and squared at the tip. This, also in combination with probability factor, at first had me leaning toward Couch's. However, shortly after, the bird approached and vocalized in response to TRKI playback. The tail was then also seen to appear both even and square-tipped more like Couch's when the bird was more alert, then noticeably wider toward the tip with a noticeable fork, as the bird relaxed. Pictures taken on 12/02 also show that the bill is rather long and more like Tropical, although it does appear comparatively a bit on the thick end for Tropical, in my opinion. 12/06/ No additional plumage data- bird was observed flying and perched but was silent
16. Voice: 12/02= The distinct, hard, rattling, somewhat metallic, ascending "pit pit pr tr'ti't't't't'teek" of Tropical Kingbird was given, also recorded. This, with initial notes more spaced and level, then rapid and ascending toward end. The "song" was rather loud. There were also lower, more level and less-audible "pit" calls, with 1-3 notes heard given. Some of these were also recorded. Interestingly, the bird only called in our experience on 12/02 during a warmer 73 degrees. As with some winter residents that sing better on warmer or calmer mornings, the warmer temps might've given the bird an additional hormonal boost- as it did not call when observed again on 12/06, also was silent for most others when visiting.
17. Similar species (include how they were eliminated by your observation): Couch's by call, longer bill, noticeable fork in tail when relaxed and somewhat by grayer, more washed-out and less green to back with more contrasting, paler feather edging to coverts
18. Photographs or tape recordings obtained? (by whom? attached?):
19. Previous experience with this species: Seen and heard on several occasions during trip to lower Rio Grande Valley in 2007. Other than that, quite extensive study over the years of calls, shape and plumage versus Couch's.
20. Identification aids: (list books, illustrations, other birders, etc. used in identification):
a. at time of observation:
b. after observation:
21. This description is written from: __1___ notes made during the observation (_____notes attached?);____2_notes made after the observation (date:_____); _some____memory.
22. Are you positive of your identification if not, explain: Yes