Tyrannus tyrannus

tyrannustyrannusI love a black and white bird. I’ve said it time and again. Especially one with a little flash of bright orange feathers on the crown of its head that it keeps hidden most of the time.

I also love flycatchers. With their gradations from light to dark and the way they are always flitting from a telephone wire to grab an insect and doubling back again. They are subtle and lovely.

I especially love Tyrannus tyrannus flycatchers (Eastern kingbirds) because they are a good mix of subtle and lovely and unchecked aggression and badassery. They’re all aggressive during breeding season in North America, barely controlling themselves long enough to tolerate a mate and some young’uns.  Then winter comes and they’re all chummy with other tyrants, migrating and snacking and hanging together in the Amazon.  Territorial males will attack each other in the air, locking feet, and pulling feathers while also performing delicate aerial partner displays with a mate.  They’ll sometimes lay eggs in other tyrants’ nests while being devoted parents to those in their own. They’ll daintily pluck insects out of the air while on the wing and then regurgitate wads of gnarly insect exoskeletons. They’ll artfully catch a frog and then beat it against a branch before swallowing it whole.

These tyrants may be beautiful but they aren’t messing around.

Powerfact!?!: Jules thinks that their great great great great grandfather must have been a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

References: All About Birds

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