Crouching juvenile Western KingbirdCrouching juvenile Western Kingbird – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 500, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

It won’t be long before I start seeing Eastern and Western Kingbirds showing up here in northern Utah for their breeding season. Both species perch near open areas and catch insects in flight or dive towards the insects on the ground. Both species are very aggressive in their territories and will even attack much larger raptors that might come close to their nests.

I feel fortunate that I am able to see and photograph both the Western and Eastern Kingbird juveniles here in northern Utah. I have photographed Western Kingbirds building their nests  and incubating their eggs but haven’t had that same opportunity with Eastern Kingbirds.

Juvenile Eastern Kingbird perched on a fence postJuvenile Eastern Kingbird perched on a fence post – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I have had many opportunities to photograph juvenile Eastern and Western Kingbirds in Utah, Idaho and Montana. They look very much like the adults after they have fledged but their colors seem softer and both species have pinkish gapes as juveniles that the adults do not have.

I’ve found that both species can be challenging to photograph because they move very quickly and and don’t have a predictable take off pattern.

Both the Western and Eastern Kingbirds are rather noisy and some times that is why I hear them before I see them and can pinpoint their location easily.

Life is good.


The Western Kingbird juvenile was photographed at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in August of 2013 and the Western Kingbird juvenile was photographed at Farmington Bay WMA in August of 2015.


  1. Elephant's Child March 9, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    Just beautiful. Again.
    Thank you.

  2. Patty Chadwick March 9, 2016 at 9:20 am

    I difn’t realize thete was suchba difference…interesting comparison….

  3. pennypinchadventure Tim Traver March 9, 2016 at 6:21 am

    Wonderful to see these together! Thanks for the micro lesson!

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