Tropical Kingbird – Rare Maryland Sighting


Yes, I’ll be the first to admit it.Β  A local rare bird sighting had me twitching!Β  😁

Seen for three days at Blackwater NWR, I was on the road at dawn to drive the 1.5 hours in hopes to see and most importantly photograph it.

Welcome to my bird lifer list #247 the Tropical Kingbird!Β  πŸ€—πŸ˜ŠπŸ€—


Tropical Kingbird (lifer #247)



On October 28th, this bird was first seen at the refuge and identified as a Couch’s Kingbird, which that in itself was rare and exciting for Maryland.

Several bird experts were onsite the morning of October 30th and were able to listen to it in song which verified and changed the identity to the even rarer Tropical Kingbird.


Tropical Kingbird


The Tropical Kingbird’s normal range is the middle of Central America down through most of South America and is quite common there, perching on wires, fences, and posts.

In more recent years, they’ve stretched their range to now include nesting just into southernmost Texas and Arizona.


Tropical Kingbird singing


My sighting at the refuge was across the pond canal behind the Visitor’s Center, and it was a windy 15+mph morning.

I read today it was easily seen on poles and wires at the Visitor’s Center parking lot, being quite the celebrity!




More Preening


Fluff-up Shake


Tropical Kingbird


Tropical Kingbird in flight


Tropical Kingbird


If you made it this far on viewing this sunshiny beauty, sorry for the photo overload!Β  Couldn’t help myself!Β  πŸ˜‰


70 thoughts on “Tropical Kingbird – Rare Maryland Sighting

  1. Wow, Donna! I admire your determination to find this special bird, and given that you made the long drive I’m happy for you that you saw it. Congratulations! I’ll stick to searching the swallow-tailed kite that made its appearance just up the road from my house over the summer. Great shots! You go girl!!

    • Thank you very much, Susan! Even though I’m not one to do this running for a bird, it was fun. I have been dying to visit BlackwaterNWR for the past month, I’ve missed it, was always my favorite refuge. So this helped to be an excuse to visit! 😊

    • The Swallow-tailed Kite sighting over the summer on Kent Island was awesome! If it’s around again next summer, I may go looking for that one too. I got awesome shots of one in Florida, perched in a tree, preening. πŸ™‚ Or another bird I’d come to Kent Island for would be the return of the Snowy Owl this winter, fingers crossed! πŸ™‚

    • It was fun and gave me a chance to do a visit at BlackwaterNWR! I love that refuge. No, I didn’t submit any photos, but there are many who have, as well as they’re all over facebook now.

  2. Your dedicated Donna! That’s a perquisite to becoming a professional.
    Next level entails you setting up a blind and sleeping overnight. Doing 24 hour surveillance.
    Great shots!

    • Thank you, Eliza! I was happy I got to see and photograph it. Plus get to spend time at BNWR that has always been my favorite refuge. I wonder if the hurricanes that came up into the gulf and then up and through the mid-Atlantic plopped it there in the area. It is very remote down that way, the bird could have been there for a while, just out of sight in the vast marshes and wooded areas.

  3. Definitely a cool bird – I saw the title and first thing I thought was .. hopefully someone is up on their song notes to distinguish from the Couch’s and sure enough it was confirmed – nice add to your list.

  4. How exciting! Congratulations on #247!!! I’m so happy your 1 1/2 hour trek to capture the little guy on film was well rewarded with so many cool photos! Was he all by himself? The little celebrity was probably wondering what all the fuss was about. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you very much, Barbara! Yes, s/he’s all alone, and must be really wondering what the heck! 😁 I was there with three other birders, but I’ve heard it gets big crowds at times so it doesn’t mind showing off!

    • Keep your eye out for sure, Hien! S/he could have been north and is passing by us, heading south for warmer temps! Yes, we dropped ten degrees in past couple days, looks like no more warming up. Ugh.

  5. The last time I saw this bird was in South America. I believe it goes all the way to Canada, now must be going his way South. Great find, Donna. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you, HJ! I know everyone here hates for it to leave but it’s starting to get a bit chilly now. We’re getting ready to have our first frost, so the weatherman says. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you, Ashley! Oh, I cannot be a twitcher, I don’t have the time lol. πŸ˜‰ Since this bird’s been all over the news here, and I knew I’d have success with other birds at the refuge for sure, I decided to go. This refuge has always been a top favorite of mine, & I hadn’t been for a couple years. For sure I truly did luck out with this bird and more! Just posted on the Eagles nest there also. 😊

    • Thank you very much, Simon! The refuge has always been my top favorite NWR so it was exciting to visit again after a couple years AND see this bird too! I’m glad I made the drive. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you Denise, it was exciting! I’m glad I went; between it, the Eagles nest, and the post I just uploaded, it was an awesome couple hours and well worth the drive. πŸ™‚

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