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Number of species: 80

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Eastern Kingbird - Tyrannus tyrannus

In fall, HY and AHY Eastern Kingbirds are easy to age by the shape of the outermost primary and the presence or absence of a concealed red crown patch; some SY individuals have a few retained some juvenile primaries or secondaries through as late as October, but those with uniform primaries and secondaries should be considered AHY. Sex in SY and older birds is reliably indicated by the shape of the outermost primary.

Quick Tips:

  • Check the shape of the outermost primary - on HY birds it is rounded, while on SY and AHY/ASY birds it is either tapered (females) or sharply pointed (males).
  • Examine the innermost primaries and the secondaries for any retained juvenile feathers contrasting with the other darker and fresher primaries and secondaries; this is indicative of a SY bird and can be apparent as late as October.

Species account prepared by McGill Bird Observatory

Click on any image below to bring up the side-by-side comparison tool.
Age / Sex  Image sets 
Hatch year / Unknown
Crown without central patch; outermost primary relatively rounded.
Thumbnail - MG2-2291-33626-Tyrannus_tyrannus_AOU_7_52-3583.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2291-33626-Tyrannus_tyrannus_AOU_7_52-3581.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2291-33626-Tyrannus_tyrannus_AOU_7_52-3582.jpg
Date: Aug 28
After hatch year / Male
Crown with concealed central red patch; outermost primary sharply pointed.
Thumbnail - MG2-2201-54816-Tyrannus_tyrannus_AOU_7_52-3586.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2201-54816-Tyrannus_tyrannus_AOU_7_52-3584.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2201-54816-Tyrannus_tyrannus_AOU_7_52-3585.jpg
Date: May 18
After hatch year / Female
Crown with concealed central red patch; outermost primary tapered.
Thumbnail - MG2-2431-74212-Tyrannus_tyrannus_AOU_7_52-3589.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2431-74212-Tyrannus_tyrannus_AOU_7_52-3587.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2431-74212-Tyrannus_tyrannus_AOU_7_52-3588.jpg
Date: May 18

Additional age / sex class descriptions

The following additional age / sex class descriptions were found for this species:
Age / Sex   Age / Sex class description
Second year / Male Crown with concealed central red patch; outermost primary sharply pointed; innermost 1-2 primaries and/or 1-2 secondaries sometimes unreplaced, and contrasting with darker and fresher rest of the wing.
After second year / Male Crown with concealed central red patch; outermost primary sharply pointed.
After second year / Female Crown with concealed central red patch; outermost primary tapered.
Juvenile / Unknown Upperparts with some cinnamon edging; crown without central patch.
Second year / Female Crown with concealed central red patch; outermost primary tapered; innermost 1-2 primaries and/or 1-2 secondaries sometimes unreplaced, and contrasting with darker and fresher rest of the wing.
Number of species: 80

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