Bird On a Wire: Western Kingbird

A swooping, darting and sometimes hovering flycatcher, the Western Kingbird is such fun to watch. When they aren’t performing an aerial ballet to outmaneuver and catch a flying insect, you can find them on a favorite perch actively looking for their next meal to wing on by.

These lemon-breasted, robin-sized birds are easy to recognize. Just look up when you hear non-stop chittering and chatting and you’re likely to find a Western kingbird.

After a nice hike along one of Albuquerque’s Open Space Trails, I knew one of these gorgeous flycatchers was somewhere close by. There! Up high on a twisted powerline was a male kingbird actively hunting and having a lovely grooming session at the same time. He would drop from his perch to nab a bug, return to the exact same place and swallow his snack, then proceed to fluff and ruffle his feathers to pick out some lice-y freeloaders. Over and over he would repeat this dine and dance, never seeming to get full or clean enough!

About 10 minutes and 40+ photos later (thank goodness for digital) I thanked him for the entertainment and waved good-bye. Apparently unbothered by my presence (or absence), he gazed down at me and our eyes met. Cocking his head to one side he seemed to say, ”thanks for stopping by.”
And while walking away, I glanced back in time to watch this handsome Western Kingbird swoop and nab his next meal!


  1. Deidre Pistochini says:

    Beautiful page, Barbara!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Deidre!


    2. A fun and entertaining dine and dance! I have been hearing Eastern Kingbird here (according to my Merlin app), but they haven’t posed for me to observe them like your Western. Love the yellow chest!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks very much Karen! Wow, you have eastern Kingbirds! They are also lots of fun! I really appreciate the comments.


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