Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of various flycatchers of the genus Tyrannus found throughout the Americas, especially T. tyrannus.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A tyrant flycatcher, Tyrannus carolinensis, abundant in the United States (also called bee-martin), or some other species of the same genus, as the gray kingbird, Tyrannus dominicensis.
  • noun Any bird of the family Tyrannidæ; any tyrant flycatcher.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Zoöl.) A small American bird (Tyrannus tyrannus, or Tyrannus Carolinensis), noted for its courage in attacking larger birds, even hawks and eagles, especially when they approach its nest in the breeding season. It is a typical tyrant flycatcher, taking various insects upon the wing. It is dark ash above, and blackish on the bead and tail. The quills and wing coverts are whitish at the edges. It is white beneath, with a white terminal band on the tail. The feathers on the head of the adults show a bright orange basal spot when erected. Called also bee bird, and bee martin. Several Southern and Western species of Tyrannus are also called king birds.
  • noun The king tody. See under King.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A group of large insectivorous passerine birds of the genus Tyrannus.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun large American flycatcher

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[From their habit of aggressively defending their territories by chasing away other birds.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

king +‎ bird

Examples

  • The kingbird is the best dressed member of the family, but he is a braggart; and, though always snubbing his neighbors, is an arrant coward, and shows the white feather at the slightest display of pluck in his antagonist.

    In the Catskills Selections from the Writings of John Burroughs

  • I saw a kingbird on a telephone wire as I pedaled out and a redwinged blackbird as I rode back.

    Lance Mannion:

  • I saw a kingbird on a telephone wire as I pedaled out and a redwinged blackbird as I rode back.

    One for the birds

  • Later on I watch a piping plover harassing and attacking a common grackle and then an eastern kingbird.

    Archive 2009-06-01

  • Each puddle seemed to be functioning as a bird bath, with a different species in each puddle: gray catbird, eastern kingbird, brown thrasher, common grackle, American goldfinch, American robin, several species of sparrow.

    bird baths in the road and other anomalies

  • Mid morning, my first eastern kingbird of the season perched on a piece of driftwood behind me and made his presence known.

    least terns in the mist

  • Mid morning, my first eastern kingbird of the season perched on a piece of driftwood behind me and made his presence known.

    Archive 2009-05-01

  • Later on I watch a piping plover harassing and attacking a common grackle and then an eastern kingbird.

    partly cloudy or partly sunny

  • Each puddle seemed to be functioning as a bird bath, with a different species in each puddle: gray catbird, eastern kingbird, brown thrasher, common grackle, American goldfinch, American robin, several species of sparrow.

    Archive 2009-07-01

  • I have observed mockingbirds terrorize even larger groups of starlings, so I have no doubt that a kingbird could do it, too.

    an interesting sight

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