Bird Info

Couch’s Kingbird /tirano silbador (Tyrannus couchii)

Voice: Calls include a breezy “breeeeer,” sometimes preceded with irregular “kip” notes. Dawn song (which may occur anytime during the day) often begins with “breeer” notes followed by a deliberate “swee, swee, swee, SWEE-a-chu.”

Couch’s Kingbird
Status: Common summer resident throughout the Valley, becoming uncommon and irregular in winter. Couch’s Kingbirds can be found in a variety of habitats, including riparian woodlands, forest edges, urban areas, and trees near water. They can often be seen perched on telephone lines along highways. Because of the irruption of Tropical Kingbirds into the Valley, beginning in the early 1990’s, Couch’s Kingbird can no be longer be safely assumed to be “the likely” kingbird in southernmost Texas. Confirmation by voice is essential.

Habitat: Couch’s Kingbirds occupy a variety of habitats (see above), generally preferring more wooded areas than Tropical Kingbirds. (Tropical Kingbirds prefer open areas like golf courses). You are much more likely to see Couch’s Kingbird when visiting wildlife area refuges like Bentsen SP, Santa Ana NWR, Sabal Palm Grove, Laguna Atascosa NWR, and Rio Grande woodlands in the Falcon Dam area.

Best Spots: In summer, Couch’s Kingbirds can be seen throughout the Valley. To be looked for in winter at Valley refuges throughout, especially at Bentsen SP, Santa Ana NWR, Laguna Atascosa NWR, and Sabal Palm Grove.

Similar Species: Although Couch’s Kingbirds average shorter and more tapered bills (thicker base to a more pointed tip) than Tropical Kingbirds, there is overlap in some individuals.

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All Bird call recordings © John C. Arvin.
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Welcome to a birder’s eye view of the seasons in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Enjoy our annual cycle! The resulting avifauna in deep South Texas is the most diverse north of the Mexican border. The four county area that makes up the lower Rio Grande Valley has recorded over 500 species of birds. This is more species of birds than have been recorded in all but two or three entire states. Small wonder that birders from across the continent make pilgrimages to the region. Happy Birding!

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