any of 13 species of birds of the genus Tyrannus (family Tyrannidae) noted for their pugnacity. Although only about 20 cm (8 inches) long, a kingbird will chase birds as large as a crow or a hawk; it will even ride on the larger bird's back and peck at its head. Kingbirds are gray above and white, gray, or yellow below. All have a concealed but erectile crest of red, orange, or yellow. The genus is widely distributed from Canada to Argentina. Among species breeding in North America is the eastern kingbird (T. tyrannus), ranging to the Rockies; it is dark slate gray above and white below, with white tail tip. It is common along roads in open country and may also raid apiaries; hence its local name, bee bird, or bee-martin. The western, or Arkansas, kingbird (T. verticalis), found westward from the Great Plains, is light gray above and yellow below, with whitish edges on the outermost tail feathers. Both species have a red spot (usually concealed) on the crown
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