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The Tale of Two Kings

T&T features two species of Kingbird – members of the tyrant flycatcher family, distantly related to the very familiar Great Kiskadee (yeah there’s a Lesser Kiskadee as well, just not in T&T). Their distribution across both islands is (for me at least) the most interesting aspect of these very vocal birds.

Tropical Kingbirds are widespread across Trinidad, but uncommon in Tobago.

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While Grey Kingbirds are widespread across Tobago, and rare to uncommon in Trinidad. Sounds a bit like the battle between Green and Striated Herons, yeah?

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I’ve only witnessed the two species interacting once, in Orange Grove, Trinidad – where a few Grey Kingbirds were attempting to secure a choice perch; only that the perch belonged to the resident Tropical Kingbird. The latter kept divebombing the slightly larger Grey Kingbird, until they retreated to another (perhaps less desirable) branch. Perhaps this is a window into the future, where both species will eventually be regarded as commonplace on both islands?


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