Gray kingbird

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Gray kingbird
Tyrannus dominicensis 103778882 (cropped).jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Tyrannidae
Genus: Tyrannus
T. dominicensis
Binomial name
Tyrannus dominicensis
(Gmelin, JF, 1788)
Tyrannus dominicensis map.svg

The gray kingbird or grey kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis), also known as pitirre, petchary or white-breasted kingbird, is a passerine bird.


This tyrant flycatcher is found in tall trees and shrubs, including the edges of savanna and marshes. It makes a flimsy cup nest in a tree. The female incubates the typical clutch of two cream eggs, which are marked with reddish brown.


The adult gray kingbird is an average-sized kingbird. It measures 23 cm (9.1 in) in length and weighs from 37 to 52 g (1.3 to 1.8 oz).[2] The upperparts are gray, with brownish wings and tail, and the underparts are white with a gray tinge to the chest. The head has a concealed yellow crown stripe, and a dusky mask through the eyes. The dark bill is heavier than that of the related, slightly smaller, tropical kingbird. The sexes are similar, but young birds have rufous edges on the wing coverts, rump and tail.


The call is a loud rolling trill, pipiri pipiri, which is the reason behind many of its local names, like pestigre or pitirre, in the Spanish-speaking Greater Antilles, or petchary in some of the English-speaking zones.

Diet and behaviour[edit]

Gray kingbirds wait on an exposed perch high in a tree, occasionally sallying out to feed on insects (such as bees, dragonflies, wasps and beetles),[3] their staple diet. They also eat small fruits and berries depending on its availability. Fruits and berries make up one fifth of their daily diet. Spiders and small lizards are occasionally eaten.[4]

Like other kingbirds, these birds aggressively defend their territory against intruders, including mammals and much larger birds such as caracaras, red-tailed hawks and broad-winged hawks.

Distribution & range[edit]

It is found in increasing numbers in the state of Florida, and is more often found inland though it had been previously restricted to the coast. The species was first described on the island of Hispaniola, then called Santo Domingo, thus the dominicensis name. It breeds from the extreme southeast of the United States, mainly in Florida, throughout Puerto Rico, through Central America, through the West Indies, south to Venezuela, Trinidad, Tobago, the Guiana, and Colombia. Northern populations are migratory, wintering on the Caribbean coast of Central America and northern South America. Several vagrant populations are known to exist in the American Northeast.



  1. ^ BirdLife International (2016). "Tyrannus dominicensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T22700509A93781676. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22700509A93781676.en. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  2. ^ Dunning, John B., Jr. (ed.) (1992). CRC Handbook of Avian Body Masses. CRC Press. ISBN 978-0-8493-4258-5.
  3. ^[bare URL PDF]
  4. ^[bare URL PDF]
  • Hilty, Steven L (2003). Birds of Venezuela. London: Christopher Helm. ISBN 0-7136-6418-5.
  • ffrench, Richard (1991). A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago (2nd ed.). Comstock Publishing. ISBN 0-8014-9792-2.

External links[edit]