Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Tyrannidae
  • Polytypic: 3 subspecies
  • Authors: Alex. E. Jahn, Philip C. Stouffer, and R. Terry Chesser

Sounds and Vocal Behavior


The typical call of Tropical Kingbird is described as a "bright, slightly liquid . . . tree-ee-eer and tril-il-il-iil-l " (Howell and Webb 1995).

For a representative audio recording with sonogram, see audio

Tropical Kingbird also gives a dawn song throughout the year, starting before first light and consisting of a short series of pip notes that lead to a medley of thin ascending trills or twitters (Mobley 2004, AEJ personal observation). Partners may call back and forth with a variety of high trills while moving the wings or during short flights (Mobley 2004).

For a representative audio recording with sonogram, see audio

Additional audio recordings of vocalizations of Tropical Kingbird can be heard at Macaulay Library, at xeno-canto, and at Internet Bird Collection.

Nonvocal Sounds

The wings of Tropical Kingbird in flight make a crackling sound at close range (Stiles and Skutch 1989), and Tropical Kingbirds fighting each other or chasing predators snap the bill (Smith 1966).

Recommended Citation

Jahn, A. E., P. C. Stouffer, and R. T. Chesser (2013). Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.