Couch’s (?) Kingbird!

Shortly after the possible Eastern Phoebe photographed on the morning of 8/27, several shots were taken of what I’m pretty sure is a Kingbird. Unfortunately, I’m not sure which kingbird it is.

Here’s one of the best shots. This one was taken by idbirds:

Image 41738

In the chat there was some discussion about whether this was a Tropical or a Couch’s Kingbird. I can’t say I’m confident either way, but apparently enough users were confident enough for it to be successfully ID’d as Couch’s. In any event, it’s a great shot of a really attractive bird.

Things are definitely heating up on the birdcam. 🙂

2 Responses to “Couch’s (?) Kingbird!”

  1. loughman1 says:

    Chris McLean (spruchebuddhas) on-the-ground at Welder said that this bird was very likely Couch’s Kingbird. Don’t know his reasons.

  2. Rafa says:

    I requested some Id. Help from the birders on Texbirds list. Thanks a lot to all them! These are the results:

    Couch’s Kingbird: 5
    Couch’s or Tropical: 3
    Western Kingbird: 3

    Some of their reasons:

    “The kingbird is definitely Couch’s or Tropical – can’t tell them apart without vocalization: note the forked tail and lack of white outer webs on the outer rectrices.”
    Keith Arnold

    “I would call the Kingbird a Western. It doesn’t have quite the contrast of white and gray on the malar. The tail could be the smoking gun here. Westerns have white outer retrices which depending on how the tail was held could be hidden from view, whereas a Couch’s has white at the tip of every tail feather which should be visible in this pic but is not.”
    Brady Surber
    Alpine, TX

    “Your kingbird appears to be Couch’s. The tail shows no black with white outline on the sides”
    Jeff McIntyre
    Pflugerville, TX

    “I would say Couch’s Kingbird for the first. Tail seems greyish; Western Kingbird typically has a black tail, often with visible white edges.”

    “The first bird is NOT a Western Flycatcher. The tail lacks the white margin and squared end.”
    Paul C. Palmer (Comal County)

    “As for the kingbird, I too believe that is a Couch’s Kingbird. A Western would have a black tail with white edging, while that bird definitely does not. Given the location of your camera, I think you can be 99.9% certain that it is not a Tropical.”
    Paul Sunby
    Austin, Texas

    “The location of SE Texas North of Beaumont will almost certainly rule out Tropical Kingbird. However vocalization is the only way to be 100% certain, as the photo is not that conclusive.Regarding Couch’s Kingbird or Western Kingbird there are very few definitive clues. But looking at the photo:

    The bill does not look thick enough to be Couch’s-although this is not highly reliable. This part of Texas would be rare for Couch’s, although some few species have been recorded.

    The tail appears to have some white along the middle-edge and dark wing coverts which is indicative of Western Kingbird. The location is better for Western as well.

    So, my conclusion is:
    Nearly certain not Tropical.
    Probably not Couch’s.
    Probably Western.”

    Lamont Brown

    “I lived on the Welder for three years recently doing my masters on birds and fire. Couches Kingbird is common there, a dark grey back will separate the Couches from a western, which has a pale grey back”
    Ken Mix

    Birderbf addressed those two pics:


    Couch’s Kingbird




    Western Kingbird



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