English and Scientific names:

Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus)

Number of individuals: 




Specific Locality:

Caernarvon - on the downriver side of the Caernarvon levee just off Hwy 39

Date(s) when observed:

February 28, 2010

Time(s) of day when observed:  


Reporting observer and address:

Phillip Wallace
New Orleans, LA

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

David Muth, Glenn Ousset, Dan Purrington, Curt Sorrells.The bird was originally discovered and identified by call by Glenn Ousset the preceding weekend.

Other observers who independently identified the bird(s)

E.J. Raynor, et al.

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

Excellent light; clear skies, soft light early. Bird seen from many different angles in relation to light.

Optical equipment: 

Eagle 10x40 binoculars

Distance to bird(s): 

6-30 meters

Duration of observation:

15 minutes viewing time


Live oaks and hackberry around subdivision (Braithwaite Park) house; willows and tallow on levee batture.

Behavior of bird: 

Harrassing American Crow and RS Hawk as they flew by. Interacting aggressively with Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. Flycatching and resting. Responded aggressively to TRKI iPod call, flying quickly toward the call and searching for the source. 


Yellow-bellied Kingbird (Couch's/Tropical type); pale gray head with dark auricular patch going through eye. Greenish-gray mantle; bright yellow underparts from undertail coverts to upper breast; pale grayish-white throat and a darker, diffuse band between yellow breast and pale throat. Brown, deeply notched tail without white outer rectrices. Very long, black bill. 


Called twice while interacting with a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. The call was a soft trill or twitter.

Similar species:

The extent of the yellow in the breast and brown, notched tail without white outer recttrices eliminate Western Kingbird. The long bill points to Tropical as opposed to Couch\'s. The call distingushes the bird from Couch\'s and makes it a Tropical.

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?

Stills from the video accompany this report. Video with the call will be submitted to the LBRC.

Previous experience with this species: 

Iíve seen several Couch's and Couch's/Tropicals in LA, but this is the first definitive Tropical Iíve had in LA.

Identification aids:


This description is written from: 

Notes made the morning of the observation and the video of the bird.

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



Date and time: 

March 9, 2010