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Say's Phoebe Sayornis saya


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Say's Phoebe
credit: Wolfgang Wander/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Tyrannidae, Tyrant Flycatchers view all from this family

Description ADULT Has mainly graybrown upperparts, darkest on head and particularly noticeable as mask through eye. Wings are dark, but with hint of subtle pale wing bars and pale fringes to inner flight feathers. Tail is blackish. Throat and breast are gray-buff, grading to orange-buff on belly and undertail; underwing coverts are flushed peachy orange. JUVENILE Similar, but plumage is browner overall and wing feather fringes are orangebuff.

Dimensions Length: 7-8" (18-20 cm)

Habitat Widespread and common summer visitor (mainly Apr-Aug) to a wide range of open habitats, including deserts, grassland, and tundra, across much of western North America. Present year-round in southwestern U.S., but most birds winter further south, mainly Mexico.

Observation Tips Easy to see in open habitats.

Range Northwest, Southwest, Mid-Atlantic, New England, California, Rocky Mountains, Plains, Alaska, Western Canada, Texas

Voice Song is a strident, whistling pi'weer, pi'weepÖ; call is a sharp pe-eer.

Discussion Subtly attractive flycatcher with a relatively long tail. Often perches conspicuously on wires or dead branches. Typically catches flying insects during aerial sorties from favored perch, and commonly feeds on insects caught on the ground; sometimes also feeds on berries. Often uses manmade structures for nesting. Sexes are similar.