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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Gray Kingbird -- Tyrannus dominicensis

RANGE: Breeds along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts from southeastern South Carolina south to the Florida Keys, and west to southern Alabama and islands off the coast of Mississippi, south in coastal regions to South America. Winters from Hispaniola south to South America, casually in southern Florida.

STATUS: Locally common.

HABITAT: Found within the coastal zone, where it occurs in mangrove swamps, marsh edges, along roadsides, and in woodlands, groves, and yards in urban or rural areas.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Habitats within the coastal zone.

NEST: Nests in a fork or saddle on a horizontal limb of a tree or shrub 3 to 17 feet above the ground, often hanging over water. Prefers mangroves for nesting, but also nests in oaks, acacia, sea grape, casuarina, and cabbage palm. Shows a strong attachment to the nesting site, returning yearly to the same tree or clump of trees.

FOOD: Flycatches from exposed perches for insects; also eats lizards and fruits of tropical trees.

REFERENCES: Bent 1942, Harrison 1975, Sykes in Farrand 1983b, Terres 1980.

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