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Kingbird Profile.jpg
Eastern kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Tyrannidae
Genus: Tyrannus
Lacépède, 1799
Type species
Lanius tyrannus
Linnaeus, 1758

See text.

Tyrannus is a genus of small passerine birds of the tyrant flycatcher family. The majority are named as kingbirds.

They prefer semi-open or open areas. These birds wait on an exposed perch and then catch insects in flight.[1] They have long pointed wings and large broad bills.

These birds tend to defend their breeding territories aggressively, often chasing away much larger birds. A kingbird was photographed in 2009 defending its young by landing on and sinking its talons into the back of a red-tailed hawk and pecking its skull until the red-tailed hawk gave up and flew away.[2] The genus name means "tyrant".

The genus was introduced in 1799 by the French naturalist Bernard Germain de Lacépède with the eastern kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) as the type species.[3]


The genus contains 13 species:[4]


  1. ^ Kannan, R.; James, D.A. (2011). "Foraging behavior of three sympatric and congeneric Tyrannid flycatchers (Tyrannus spp.) in western Arkansas". J. Arkansas Academy Science. 65 (1): 169–172.
  2. ^ "Kingbird rides on back of hawk to defend young". 2009-10-30. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2018-10-25.
  3. ^ Lacépède, Bernard Germain de (1799). "Tableau des sous-classes, divisions, sous-division, ordres et genres des oiseux". Discours d'ouverture et de clôture du cours d'histoire naturelle (in French). Paris: Plassan. p. 5. Page numbering starts at one for each of the three sections.
  4. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2017). "Tyrant flycatchers". World Bird List Version 7.3. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 9 January 2018.