1. English and Scientific names: “Tropical” Kingbird (Couch’s/Tropical)

2. Number of individuals, sexes, ages, general plumage (e.g., 2 in alternate plumage): Two interacting individuals. 

3. Locality: LOUISIANA: Cameron

Specific Locality: Lighthouse Woods

4. Date(s) when observed:  05/18/2013

5. Time(s) of day when observed: mid-morning

6. Reporting observer and address: Paul Conover, Lafayette

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

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):  Good sunlight

10. Optical equipment (type, power, condition):  Zeiss 10s, Nikon D50 w/300mm lens, Nikon Fieldscope and Blackberry cellphone camera. 

11. Distance to bird(s):  down to 15 yards minimum probably

12. Duration of observation:   about 1 hour

13. Habitat:  degraded island of woods on a high area in the marsh/land interface

14. Behavior of bird / circumstances of observation (flying, feeding, resting; include and stress habits used in identification; relate events surrounding observation):  I was walking and noticed a kingbird sitting low in ragweed stalks or rattlebox tops.  I realized it was a “Tropical” kingbird and tried to elicit calls with tape.  I got no response to either C or T Kingbird.  I followed the bird around and was surprised to see another join it.  They interacted amicably, seeking out the same perches, and at times racing high into the air together only to return to the same perch next to one another.  I hoped for breeding, but the next week, they were no longer there.    

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): 

Medium size flycatchers with long bills, green backs, bright yellow breasts and bellies, white throats, and greenish smudges on the yellow breast sides.   


The two birds present may or may not have been the same species.  One seemed stocky, plump, sometimes with a crest.  The other seemed thinner, longer-billed, round-headed, and sleeker.  That may have been sexual difference, individual variation, or whatever.


Heads gray above and one auriculars, with a slight duskiness but not a definite mask on either, throat white, eye dark.  Bills black, at least one bird’s was strongly keeled on the culmen and broad from above at base.    



The backs of both were greenish, contrasting slightly with the dark brownish/blackish flight feathers and the dark tail without white edges.  The notch in the tail of the bird I got the best look at was slight.  Darkish wing coverts scalloped with paler gray edges. 



Otherwise, aside from differences from Western and  Cassin’s both were generic yellow-bellied kingbirds. 

16. Voice:  I didn’t hear them, but my ability ot pick calls out of the mix is very poor. 

17. Similar species (include how they were eliminated by your observation):  My gut feeling is that these birds were Couch’s Kingbirds.  The wing shape, the tail notch, and the bill length of at least one seemed best for that species.  However, I can’t eliminate Tropical.  Western would have different interface between throat and breast, white feather edges to outer rects.  Cassin’s would have the diagnostic white chin and dark throat and breast. 

18. Photographs or tape recordings obtained? (by whom? attached?):  yes

19. Previous experience with this species:   

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: memory, study of photos

22. Are you positive of your identification if not, explain:  I know they’re “Tropical,” but which, I can’t say.       

23.       3/4/2014