Loggerhead Kingbird (Tyrannus caudifasciatus)

Loggerhead Kingbird


The loggerhead kingbird (Tyrannus caudifasciatus) is a species of bird in the family Tyrannidae. This large kingbird measures 23 cm (9.1 in) long. It is dark grey above and white below. The head is black while the throat and cheeks are white. Like many kingbird species, the loggerhead possesses an orange or yellow crown patch, but it is well concealed and rarely visible in the field. The tail is squared and ends with a buffy-white band.

Distribution And Habitat

The Loggerhead Kingbird is common in the northern Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, and Greater Antilles (Raffaele and others 1998) including Puerto Rico (Oberle 2018) and Vieques (Gemmill 2015). The form on Puerto Rico and Vieques is sufficiently distinct from other island populations; Garrido and others (2009) recommend that it be recognized as a separate endemic species, which they designate as T. taylori. However, this taxonomic recommendation has not been accepted by the American Ornithologists Union checklist committee at this time (Chesser and others 2018). This species habitat includes mostly forest clearings and edges, shade coffee plantations (Oberle 2018), pine and broadleaf forests, dry and wet woodlands, and mangrove swamps (Raffaele and others 1998). In Puerto Rico, the Loggerhead Kingbird occurs commonly in forest clearings at the Maricao State Forest (Oberle 2018), as well as in the haystack hills of the north coast and in lower forested areas of the Sierra de Luquillo (Raffaele 1989a, Recher and Recher 1966). Nonetheless, it is rare in the metropolitan area of San Juan, but it is sporadically reported in the karst hills between the towns of Guaynabo and Bayamón (Salguero and Colón 2005). The atlas fieldwork yielded a total of 404 records within 243 hexagons or 51 percent of the 479 total hexagons (see map). Of the 243 hexagons where this species was found, breeding met the atlas definition of confirmed in 21 percent (50) of the hexagons, probable in 29 percent (70), and possible in 49 percent (120), while the species was observed in 1 percent (3) of the hexagons but without evidence of breeding (see map). Puerto Rican Kingbird distribution. The map shows the highest breeding code by hexagon and overlaying the ecological life zones in Puerto Rico. Note: percentages may not total 100 due to rounding. 211Loggerhead Kingbird/Clérigo

Loggerhead Kingbird Distribution

Breeding Habits

The Puerto Rican Kingbird builds a cup-shaped nest made of twigs, stems, and grasses, usually in a tree or shrub (Raffaele and others 1998). Previously published reports indicate that breeding occurs mostly from February to July, but some nesting activity has been noted from November to January (Raffaele and others 1998). Nevertheless, atlas results show that this species breeding season extends throughout the year, with the most breeding activity from March to June (see chart). The breeding activity peaks in May, and it mostly takes place in the subtropical moist forest life zone. Atlas results (see table) show that this species breeds mostly within the subtropical moist forest life zone (59 percent of the hexagons) but also in the subtropical wet forest life zones at higher elevations (32 percent of the hexagons) and rarely in the subtropical dry forest life zone (9 percent of the hexagons) (see table and map).


The population of the Loggerhead Kingbird has not been evaluated, but the species is described as fairly common (Stotz and others 1996). It is currently listed as a species of least concern by the IUCN (BirdLife International 2016). Locally, this species is not listed in any of the threatened categories of PRDNER and USFWS. In Puerto Rico, the Loggerhead Kingbird has a protected habitat in land of 15 percent or 834 km2 of the total area covered by the hexagons where evidence of breeding was found for this species (5740 km2).