In the birding world there are some birds that are so similar that unless you study the bird up close and personal, the only way to tell them apart is by their location.
You can see that in some of the Eastern birds vs. the Western birds. Like the Eastern and Western Meadowlarks, Eastern and Western Screech-Owl, Eastern and Western Bluebird and Eastern and Western Wood-Pewee, to name a few…
But this is not the case with the Eastern and Western Kingbirds. You certainly wouldn’t have any problem identifying these two birds from each other…
This is the Eastern Kingbird, a bold black and white bird with a wide white band on the tip of its tail. It can be found throughout most of the US except for the far western states.
They will winter in South America where they usually live in flocks eating berries in the tropical forests. The rest of the year you can see them foraging alone on a perch, flying out to catch an insect.
Here is the Western Kingbird, they are so different from the Eastern Kingbird, with their bright yellow belly and light gray chest and head.
They can be found from the west coast east to the Great Plains in the US. They winter in the tropics. They also forage by watching from a perch then flying out to get insects.
I’ve seen them going after crows that got too close to their nest, it didn’t seem to be afraid at all to take on the bigger bird!
So if you ever see either of these two birds, you should be able to easily tell them apart, but identifying the Western Kingbird vs the Cassin’s Kingbird or Couch’s Kingbird, well that’s a whole other story…
Stay happy 🙂