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Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe


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Eastern Phoebe
credit: Dan Pancamo/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Tyrannidae, Tyrant Flycatchers view all from this family

Description ADULT Has mainly gray-brown upperparts, darkest on head. Wings are blackish with two whitish wing bars and pale fringes to secondaries and tertials. Throat and rest of underparts are whitish, but with grayish flanks and variably yellow-buff suffusion on belly, most obvious in freshly molted fall plumage. JUVENILE Similar, but with buffy wing bars and subtly more intense yellow wash on belly.

Dimensions Length: 7" (18 cm)

Habitat Common and widespread summer visitor (mainly Apr-Sep) to woodland, parks, and gardens, across much of eastern North America. Winters in southeastern U.S. and Mexico.

Observation Tips Easy to see, often near water, although frequently unobtrusive; listen for the distinctive song.

Range New England, California, Rocky Mountains, Plains, Alaska, Western Canada, Texas, Great Lakes, Southwest, Eastern Canada, Southeast, Florida, Mid-Atlantic

Voice Utters a sharp chip call; song is a shrill phee-werr, phee-eer-d'dip.

Discussion Squat-bodied flycatcher with understated plumage. Perched bird often pumps forked tail up and down, sometimes with a swaying motion. Flycatches insects, usually from a low perch; sometimes hovers. Often associated with manmade habitats, nesting under bridges or on buildings. Sexes are similar.