|Conservation status||Still widespread and common.|
|Habitat||Semi-open high country, pine-oak mountains, groves. In breeding season favors more wooded habitat than most kingbirds, and ranges to higher elevations, although in places it overlaps with Western Kingbird. Nests in open pine forest, pinyon-juniper woodland, oak woodland, and streamside trees; at lower elevation may nest in groves of eucalyptus. During migration and winter can be found in more open habitats.|
From a perch in a tree or on an exposed wire, flies out to capture flying insects in mid-air. May also fly out and hover while picking insects or other arthropods from leaves or from the ground.
3-4, up to 5. Creamy white with brownish mottling, markings often concentrated near large end. Incubation is by female, about 18 days. Young: Both parents feed nestlings. Young leave the nest after 14-17 days. Usually 1 brood per year, may raise 2 in southern part of range.
Both parents feed nestlings. Young leave the nest after 14-17 days. Usually 1 brood per year, may raise 2 in southern part of range.
Mostly insects, some berries. Feeds on a wide variety of insects, including wasps, beetles, caterpillars, moths, grasshoppers, true bugs, flies, and many others, as well as some spiders. Also eats some berries and fruits, more than most flycatchers.
Male has a fast zigzag courtship flight. Members of pair may perch together in nest tree, calling and quivering wings. Adults actively harass larger birds (such as ravens and hawks) in vicinity of nest, but may tolerate other species of kingbirds nearby. Nest site is in a large tree such as sycamore, cottonwood, oak, or pine, placed on a horizontal or near-horizontal branch, often well out from the trunk. Usually 20-50' above the ground but occasionally lower and sometimes much higher. Nest is a bulky cup of twigs, weed stems, rootlets, leaves, feathers, hair, and debris, lined with finer plant fibers and other material.
Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Often lingers later in fall than other kingbirds. South of United States, may migrate in large flocks.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
See a fully interactive migration map for this species on the Bird Migration Explorer.Learn more
Songs and CallsA loud chi-beer! and a rapid chi-beer, ch-beer-beer-beer-r-r.
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How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the Cassin's Kingbird
Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect this bird’s range in the future.
Zoom in to see how this species’s current range will shift, expand, and contract under increased global temperatures.
Climate threats facing the Cassin's Kingbird
Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too.