Thick-billed Kingbird

On my last trip to the border region of Arizona, I was able to clean up on some life birds, bringing my total North American list nine birds closer to my goal of 600 species. As of today, the list stands at 555. I know those remaining 45 species will not come easy.

On my last day in Arizona, I had a flight to catch around 11 a.m., which gave me time to detour to Patagonia on my way back to the Tucson airport. I was attempting to add one more lifer to the list: the Thick-billed Kingbird. I wasn't certain when I would be in this part of the country next and didn't want to leave without pursuing every new bird that I could.

After striking out on this bird earlier in the trip, I felt my odds of picking it up dwindle as my chances to get out and look got fewer and farther between. This was my last-ditch effort.

In North America, this bird's range is limited to the riparian corridor along the San Pedro River, near Patagonia, Arizona. After searching high and low for an entire morning, I came to the conclusion that this bird's range is actually limited to the sycamore tree at the picnic area on the east side of the road between Patagonia and Nogales. That's where I found this guy, thanks to a tip from a local birder.
The Thick-billed Kingbird is a foliage-loving kingbird that prefers the vegetation of a giant cottonwood or sycamore over a high, open perch, where we find most North American kingbird species. I found this out after spending the better part of a day scanning open perches along the San Pedro, and only finding Tropical Kingbirds and Grey Hawks.

1 comment:

Kevin said...


Nice find,

Thick-Billed are very brazen of the Kingbird family they are none to harass Grey Hawks to the point of clinging on there back to escort the Hawk out of their territory.