An Eastern Kingbird in Southwestern Montana

Eastern KingbirdEastern Kingbird – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

Eastern Kingbirds are found in many western states and western Canada even though it has “eastern” in its name. Kind of a misleading name but the ranges of the Eastern and Western Kingbirds do overlap so I am sure some type of distinction had to be made. In the area of southwestern Montana where I photographed this Eastern Kingbird both species breed and nest and it is delightful to be able to compare them.

This might be a juvenile Eastern Kingbird though I am not absolutely certain that it is. Maybe someone viewing the image could positively identify it as an adult or juvenile.

Eastern Kingbirds; like their western counterpart, are fearless and will attack birds as large as Bald Eagles to defend their nests. They may be much smaller than the birds they attack but they are little tyrants which is how they earned their scientific name “Tyrannus tyrannus“.

By now many Eastern Kingbirds have begun to or will be shortly migrating to their wintering grounds in Central and South America and while they are gone I will miss seeing them hawking from barbed wire perches and fence posts but I look forward to seeing their antics again next spring.

I did a little research and found out that a nickname for Eastern Kingbirds is “bee martin” because of their habit of hanging around beehives and eating honey bee drones as fast as they can.

Eastern Kingbirds are fascinating, dapper looking birds that I always enjoy seeing in my viewfinder!


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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. A fabulous shot of the Kingbird. I enjoy seeing and photographing them as well.

  2. Loekie van der Wal

    Beautiful shot of this Eastern Kingbird. Today we went on a drive and saw around the same area an Eastern Kingbird just flying to a shrub and took some shots. Not as beautiful as yours though. Really hope they find the problem on your computer and can fix it sooner than later, Good luck.

  3. What a stunning bird. And I have a weakness for the feisty birds which ‘punch well above their weight’. Thank you.

  4. Beautiful little guy, tough as he is…love the fine, white outlining of the wing feathers…really delineates them so clearly.r

  5. This happens every time. I click on your link, no matter what mood I was in, when i see the first photo, I smile every time. Thank you Mia.

  6. Stunning image Mia. I love the kingbird’s colouring and the background is just perfect.

  7. There must be something appealing about them as I keep going back to the image instead of typing!

  8. Great post! Beautiful shot of the Kingbird, Mia! Have a happy holiday weekend!

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