Some birds are rare, some just tough to see and some are just everywhere. One of the birds in Costa Rica that falls into this latter category is the Tropical Kingbird. A smart looking yellow and gray bird, you will see Tropical Kingbirds almost anywhere you go. You won’t see the Tropical Kingbird on the ground nor moving around through the foliage like a warbler. This bold bird is one of the easiest birds to see and study in Costa Rica because it sits right out in the open for all to see.
The Tropical Kingbird is a medium-sized species a bit smaller than a robin. It has yellow underparts, greenish upperparts and a gray head. It perches upright on exposed branches and telephone wires and has a strong bill that gives it a large-headed look. In Costa Rica, the Gray-capped Flycatcher is similarly patterned but has white markings on the head and a shorter bill.
Behavior in Costa Rica
A bold, courageous bird, the Tropical Kingbird and related species are called Kingbirds because they act as if they own the place. Tropical Kingbirds are fearless in their harassment of any raptors (or other birds) perceived as a possible threat to their young or territories. They will dive bomb Turkey Vultures and hawks several times their size and won’t hesitate to chase away other birds that compete for food sources. Tropical Kingbirds use open, exposed perches because this suits their foraging strategy of flying out to catch hapless bugs from the air. Their vocalizations are high-pitched twittering notes that can hardly be classified as a song.
Habitat and distribution in Costa Rica
The Tropical Kingird is a bird species of open areas. Any place that has a few trees and lots of open space is good for the Tropical Kingbird in Costa Rica. They occur in urban areas, deforested zones and grace telephone wires from the lowlands to around 2,000 meters.