Tyrannus Melancholicus – Tropical Kingbird

Tyrannus Melancholicus - Tropical Kingbird found in the coastal area of the south of US

Tyrannus melancholicus, the tropical kingbird, is a big tyrant flycatcher. This species breeds in the United States from southern Arizona and the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas to Central America, South America as far south as central Argentina and eastern Peru, and Trinidad and Tobago. After breeding, birds from the range’s northernmost and southernmost nesting sites migrate to warmer portions of the range.

Quick Overview: Tyrannus Melancholicus – Tropical Kingbird
Body size: Around 7-9.5 in (18-24 cm) and a weight of 37 g (1.3 oz)
Main colors: Gray, White, Olive-Green, Yellow
Range: Western Coastal Area the United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: January, February, December
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Tropical kingbird Description

The covert wings and tail appear to have a creamy gray border. The appearance of the head is gray with darker cheeks. The neck region is white in color. Olive green is used for the chest area, whereas yellow is used for the remainder of the underbody.

Tyrannus Melancholicus - Tropical Kingbird found in the coastal area of the south of US
Tyrannus Melancholicus – Tropical Kingbird. Photo by: Kaaren Perry


These birds have a length of 7-9.5 in (18-24 cm) and a weight of 37 g (1.3 oz). Their wings could range from 15-16 in (38- 41 cm).


Although tropical kingbirds are mostly insectivores, they also consume fruit. They are predators of flying insects like as beetles, moths, butterflies, wasps, and bees.


Tropical kingbirds are found in sparsely forested areas adjacent to ponds, rivers, and streams. Additionally, they can be found in suburban and urban settings.


Tyrannus melancholicus communicates predominantly through vocalizations as a songbird. When welcoming another tropical kingbird or pursuing a predator, it will call. Additionally, a male will call when courting and following his mate.

Tyrannus Melancholicus Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Tyrannidae
  • Genus: Tyrannus
  • Species: Tyrannus melancholicus

Best time of the year to see

The best time to see these birds in the United States is during the winter season (December to February).

Distribution of the Tropical kingbird in the USA

Breeds along the Rio Grande River valley from extreme southeastern Arizona to northern Mexico. Winters south of the US-Mexico border, primarily along the shore, but also wanders widely, very rarely reaching the Pacific coast.

The Tropical kingbird can be found in the following states in the United States – Washington, Oregon, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma.

Tyrannus Melancholicus – Tropical Kingbird

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