Saturday, December 24, 2016

Eastern Kingbird

On 24 July 2016, Erika and I hiked in the Carleton College Upper Arboretum. We photographed a curiously speckled Eastern Kingbird. Turns out that the speckles are typical of juvenile plumage—this bird was hatched this year.

Eastern Kingbirds are monogamous. If the pair survives their winter sojourn to South America, they usually remate and use the same territory. “Nevertheless,” write Murphy (1996), “extra-pair copulations and intraspecific brood parasitism may be common.”

Pairs only raise one brood of young per year. One reason for single brooding may be that catching enough flying insects to raise a brood is difficult, especially during cool, wet summers. The result is an extended period of parental care.

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