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Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans


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Black Phoebe
credit: John J. Mosesso

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Tyrannidae, Tyrant Flycatchers view all from this family

Description ADULT Has a black head and chest, grading to a dark gray back. Wings are black with subtly pale wing bars and fringes to secondaries and tertials. Tail is rather long and mostly black, but with white outer feathers. Belly and undertail are white. JUVENILE Similar, but many wing and back feathers have brown fringes.

Dimensions Length: 6-7" (15-18 cm)

Habitat Locally common resident in southwestern U.S., favoring open woodland, parks, and gardens, but invariably in the vicinity of water.

Observation Tips Easy to see and usually rather indifferent to observers, affording good views.

Range Texas, Southwest, Northwest, California

Voice Call is a sharp tsii; song is a squelchy, repeated tch'wee, tch'we÷.

Discussion Plump-bodied, essentially black and white flycatcher with a peaked rear crown, not rounded head. Tail is wagged up and down. Usually perches low, but in the open, and engages in aerial sorties to catch flying insects. Sexes are similar.