This small, white-bellied, conspicuous species has the largest distribution of any North American kingbird. Monotypic. Length 7.8–9.2".
Adult: black head blends to slate gray back; central crown patch varies from red to yellow. Dark gray wings; narrow white edgings to upperwing coverts and secondaries. Black tail with conspicuous white terminal band. White underparts; gray patches on sides of breast, paler gray wash across middle of breast. Extensively gray underwing coverts. Juvenile: generally similar but paler grayish brown upperparts contrast with blackish mask; white tail tips narrower.
Adults in reasonably fresh plumage are virtually unmistakable. Immatures and worn adults, both of which can have somewhat paler or browner upperparts and reduced white tail tips, can be superficially similar to gray or thick-billeds but