Whereas you can poke me with a stick in the middle of the night and point at a juvenile gull on Gloucester harbor and I can tell you what you’re looking at, when it comes to distinguishing Cassin’s Kingbirds from Western Kingbirds, I struggle.
The most obvious field mark, or lack thereof, is the outer tail feathers on the Western Kingbird are white…usually. In my first image, we are lacking the white outer tail feathers.
But looks can be deceiving. Here this Western Kingbird has the white outer tail feathers tucked in.
Other field marks such as the Cassin’s is darker grey in the head giving the chin more contrast did not help me here. The light is coming in from behind the bird (or rather in front of the bird, due to position).
And the bill shape is a bid different. But I’m not ready to call my first kingbird a Cassin’s…yet. But that head does look a bit darker…
My first bird was shot in the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve. My second bird was shot at the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge at the southern end of the Salton Sea.
What do you think?
29 minutes ago