Thursday, 22 November 2012

Gray Kingbirds

The first time I heard the sweet thrill of the Gray Kingbird *, I knew immediately that it was a new visitor to my garden.  The sound filled the air completely.
In looking to see where the distinctive, high pitched, melodic sound was coming from, I saw a pretty little grey bird sitting on top of the gazebo.

I learned of its identification later from a FB friend in my Caribbean Gardeners Forum.

Gray Kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis)

The Gray Kingbird is a mid-sized tyrant flycatcher with grey upper parts and white under parts, with a long black bill and dark brownish wings and notched tail. It is also known as a Pitirre.
However, in Barbados, we refer to it as a Pee Whittler.

Swinging on a Golden Palm frond......

....with not a care in the world, because he has spotted his lunchtime menu.
Their diet is made up of mostly insects, lizards, berries, fruits and seeds.

He loves the red seeds on the MacArthur palms, however he has to share with Mr.Scaly-Naped Pigeon.

They are noted for being aggressive towards mammals and other birds, especially during their breeding season, when they defend their nests.

They love to perch on power lines and nest near street lights, making it easy to access the tons of  insects that frequent the lights at night.

Gray Kingbird nest on street light pole

As I write this, the garden is filled with their chorus of sound. Almost like an orchestra playing a lovely piece of classical music.
Today is Thanksgiving Day in the US, and today I am truly thankful that I have these birds in my garden.

Happy Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends and family who are celebrating today...have a wonderful day!!

(*) In referencing these birds, I noted that Gray and Grey are interchanged for its name, however, they are listed in Wikipedia as Gray Kingbirds.
Here is an interesting fact...did you know that a group of Kingbirds are collectively known as a "coronation", a "court", or a "tyranny" of Kingbirds?  Sounds appropriate don't you think?


  1. I love collective nouns - they are often so meaningful.

    1. You just took me back to my schooldays...collective nouns. Flashback of my old English teacher looking over her gold-rimmed glasses at me and tapping my desk while asking..."give me an example of a collective noun Virginia.."

  2. They sound like a great addition to your garden. Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

    1. I do enjoy hearing their sweet sounds every day...a truly beautiful sound.
      Hope you enjoyed your day yesterday.

  3. Like CJ I enjoy collective nouns. Sometimes when I can't find one I just make one up. I often wonder when I see how odd some of the collective nouns are whether that is how they came to be.

  4. GB, trust you to make up your own words, but then again, who doesn't? I'm famous for doing friends can attest to's fun.


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