04.08.18: Kingbird on green

An Eastern Kingbird perches in a field in Slate Run Metro Park, Canal Winchester, Ohio. 


Technical information

July 5, 2014,
9:27 a.m.

39°45’30” N,
82°52'4" W
(Show in Google Maps)

Canon EOS 7D

Canon EF 600mm f/4L, Canon 1.4x teleconverter (840mm)  


1/1000th second


The Eastern Kingbird is a distinguished-looking bird.

With its bright white underside topped by dark gray — almost black — feathers on its back, wings and head and white-tipped tail, the Eastern Kingbird looks like it is dressed for a formal occasion. And the Kingbird’s behavior — chasing after any bird, large or small, that dares to fly over its territory — makes it clear that the bird is indeed king of its area.

I had always assumed that the name “kingbird” came from a combination of the bird’s look and its behavior.

I was wrong.

It turns out that the Eastern Kingbird has a crown, although I’ve never seen it.

According to All About Birds, my favorite online source for bird information, "The Eastern Kingbird has a crown of yellow, orange, or red feathers on its head, but the crown is usually concealed. When it encounters a potential predator the kingbird may simultaneously raise its bright crown patch, stretch its beak wide open to reveal a red gape, and dive-bomb the intruder.”

All the Eastern Kingbirds that I’ve photographed have been perched calmly atop small trees or tall plants in fields. I’ve never seen one in its aggressive, crown-raised posture. Maybe one of these days.

I found this kingbird perched in a field in the wetlands at Slate Run Metro Park southeast of Columbus, Ohio. It was doing what I see most kingbirds doing: surveying its area and occasionally flying up to grab an insect in midair before returning to its perch.

I liked how the green leaves in the foreground and the defocused green background framed the black-and-white bird.

Each week I will post a photo from my collection with an explanation of how I got the shot. Previous photos of the week are in the archives.