1.      English and Scientific Names:

Tropical Kingbird, Tyrannus  melancholicus

2.      Number of individuals, sexes, ages, general plumage:

Two – possible adult and fledgling.

3.      Locality: Louisiana (parish): / Specific Locality:

Cameron Parish – East Jetty Woods Road in pasture on east side of road approximately one half mile from intersection with Davis? Road.

Date(s) when observed:

August 17, 2011

4.      Time(s) of day when observed:

Approximately 4:05 PM CDST. Note: I looked for the birds at the site around 10:00 AM CDST and could not locate them.

5.      Reporting observer and address:

Jay V. Huner, 428 Hickory Hill Drive, Boyce, LA 71409.

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


7.      Other observers who independently identified the bird(s):

Paul Conover and David Patton

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

Mid-afternoon, light clouds, good views of birds in several directions in relation to ambient light.

9.      Optical equipment (type, power, condition):

Zeiss, 10 x 40 binoculars

10.  Distance to bird(s):

Various 15 to 100 yards.

11.  Duration of observation:

Approximately 10 minutes.

12.  Habitat:

Coastal chenier area. Cattle pasture with some live oak groves.

13.  Behavior of bird ….:

First bird found in pasture on east side of road about half way between major corral and a 90 degree eastward turn in the road. It was flycatching from a 12” grass stalk about 15’ behind and below an Eastern Kingbird that was also flycatching but from a 24” grass stalk perch.

The first bird flew around a bit to the north toward a 30’ tall live oak growing on the fence row along the road. It was joined by another Tropical Kingbird and these two birds flew about on the east side of the road over the pasture and road over the top of me and then back to the live oak tree where they perched. I played Tropical Kingbird song on my BirdJam. They perked up and flew over the top of me and landed on support beams in the fence at chest level. They remained there and then flew back to the live oak. I recall the birds giving the twittering/chittering call as they landed in the live oak and this sounded, to me, like the BirdJam recording.  I walked toward the oak and took several pictures of one of the birds that was exposed near the top of the tree on a bare branch. I then left the area. Total time with the birds was about 10 minutes.

Description ….:

Western type flycatcher with gray back and yellow belly. White throat. Strong bill with black eye line. Deeply indented tail.

14.  Voice:

Identical to BirdJam call. Chittering and twittering.

15.  Similar species.

Other western-type kingbirds. Separated from Western and Cassin’s Kingbirds by indented tail. Separated from Couch’s Kingbird by response to song and chittering/twittering song/call. Color and features were wrong for Western Kingbird and the birds did not respond to Western Kingbird song/call. I did not play Couch’s Kingbird song/call so I don’t know if they would respond to the song/call. However, after listening to the call/song, the chittering/twittering of the two birds did not sound a bit like Couch’s Kingbird. I will note that there has been a good bit of discussion on LABIRD listserv about chittering/twittering in fledgling Couch’s Kingbird. Consensus has been that the Cameron birds were Tropical Kingbirds. However, at least one tape of the song/call is available for LBRC review.

16.  Photographs or tape recording obtained? (by whom? Attached?):

Photographs sent to Paul Conover. No recordings of song.

17.  Previous experience with species.

Seen/heard at least once in south Texas and Violet area below New Orleans, LA.


Jay V. Huner

428 Hickory Hill Drive

Boyce, LA 71409

September 1, 2011 3:40 PM