The tropical kingbird is a majestic species of birds found across the world in tropical and subtropical climates. It is easily recognized by its bright plumage and distinct call. It is often referred to as the “king of the tropics” due to its bold and beautiful presence in the environment. In this blog post, we will explore the features, behavior, and habitat of the tropical kingbird and how it has become such an iconic bird in the tropics. Please visit spanishbirdguides


The Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus) is a species of flycatcher in the Tyrannidae family. It is one of 15 species of kingbirds and is commonly found in tropical and subtropical regions of Mexico, Central America, and South America. The species was first described by French naturalist Charles Lucien Bonaparte in 1854. It is sometimes known as the Brazilian Kingbird or the Dark-tailed Kingbird due to its dark tail feathers.
The Tropical Kingbird is the only member of the genus Tyrannus that lives in Central and South America. The other members of the genus are found mainly in North America. The species has two subspecies: Tyrranus melancholicus melancholicus, which is found from Mexico to Peru and Tyrranus melancholicus brasiliensis, which is found from Brazil to Argentina.


The Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus) is a medium-sized tyrant flycatcher that breeds in the tropical regions of Central and South America. It is found in many habitats, including woodlands, open fields, and even towns and cities. The adult has a blackish head, white throat and underparts, yellowish rump, and a greyish-brown back. The wings are brownish with whitish tips and the tail is long, rounded and brownish-black.
The Tropical Kingbird is usually seen perched on wires or other exposed perches, from which it swoops out to catch flying insects. During breeding season it may be more often seen in more open areas such as grasslands, cultivation, and savanna. It will sometimes follow cattle, plowing, and other birds in search of food.
Males and females look alike, but males have a blacker head than females. Juveniles have duller plumage, with buffy-tinged edges to the feathers. The sexes are also slightly different in size, with the female being slightly larger than the male.

Distribution and habitat

The Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus) is found in tropical and subtropical areas of the Americas. They occur from southern Mexico to northern Argentina and Uruguay. The species is most commonly found in lowland habitats near rivers, marshes, and open woodlands. They can also be found in grasslands, suburban gardens, parks, and along roadsides. The birds typically inhabit regions up to 1,000 meters in elevation. During the winter months, they migrate to the Caribbean and northern South America. They are often found in groups and can be seen perched on telephone wires or flying in search of food.


The Tropical Kingbird is a sociable bird, often seen foraging in flocks of two to six individuals. They are also highly active, often darting around branches and hovering to pick insects off vegetation. When disturbed, they will dive-bomb and make loud chattering calls. During the breeding season, the males are territorial and can be seen chasing away intruders with loud chirps and by diving at them. The females, on the other hand, are much less aggressive and tend to sit quietly in the nest.
When nesting, the Tropical Kingbird builds an open cup nest using twigs and grasses and places it in a tree or bush. The female incubates the eggs for 12 to 14 days before they hatch. Both parents take part in raising their young, with the male bringing food and the female brooding them until they are old enough to leave the nest.
The Tropical Kingbird feeds mainly on insects, but they have also been known to eat some small fruits and berries. They hunt by catching flying insects in mid-air, or by gleaning them off vegetation.


The Tropical Kingbird is an opportunistic eater, mostly feeding on flying insects such as beetles, grasshoppers, moths, flies, and wasps. They have also been seen taking small fruits, nectar, and occasionally lizards and frogs. Their foraging style involves hovering and sallying from a perch to snatch prey mid-air. They will also chase after prey on the ground. In addition to their insect-based diet, Tropical Kingbirds have also been known to eat bird eggs and nestlings of other species, as well as sometimes raiding the nests of other birds in order to feed on their young.