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Western Kingbird   Tyrannus verticalis

As its name implies, the Western Kingbird is a western bird.  During the spring and summer months, it breeds in the western part of the U.S.  As fall and winter approach, most of these birds migrate southward into Mexico.  However, a small number migrate to central and southern Florida.  An area in southeastern Polk County, around Cox Road and 80 Foot Road, seems to be a popular area and 20 or more of these birds can be seen around there.

The Western Kingbird is a fairly large flycatcher, averaging about 8 3/4-inches in length.  Its smaller than a Robin, but larger than a Phoebe.  It has a yellow belly and a pale gray breast and head.  The black tail has narrow white edges.  Its bill is shorter than the similarly colored Tropical and Couch’s Kingbirds.

These birds like open habitat where they can perch on fences, wires, or trees and readily fly out to capture unsuspecting insects.  They are usually seen in ones and twos, but may gather together in small groups to roost in the evening.  They are frequently seen with Scissor-tailed Flycatchers.