Black Phoebe

Sayornis nigricans

Order

PASSERIFORMES

Family

Tyrant Flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Code 4

BLPH

Code 6

SAYNIG

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Black Phoebe has a large range of 2,970,000 square kilometers. It occurs along streams, rivers, and other wetlands in southwestern Oregon, California, parts of the American southwest, much of Mexico, Central America, and the Andes south to northern Argentina. The Black Phoebe has an estimated breeding population of 6 million, and a conservation rating of Least Concern.

VOTE: ILLUSTRATION

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SUMMARY

Overview

Black Phoebe: Medium-sized flycatcher with black head, upper back, breast, and bill, and white belly; lower back, wings, and tail have brownish tint; outer tail feathers and undertail coverts are white. Birds north of Panama lack wing bars and birds south of Panama into South America have two white wing bars. Sexes are similar. Juvenile has subtle brown scales on back and two cinnamon wingbars. Flight is direct on steady wing beats. Sallies to catch insects in-flight or gleans from leaves.


Range and Habitat North America

Black Phoebe: This species is a resident from coastal Oregon, throughout California and southwestern U.S. to western Texas; it also occurs throughout Mexico and into the tropics. Its preferred habitats include shady areas near water, streams, ponds, and lakes; it also occurs in city parks and open chaparral in winter.


Range and Habitat Hawaii


Range and Habitat Palau

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INTERESTING FACTS

  • Although primarily insectivorous, they will occasionally catch fish.
  • The male Black Phoebe shows the female potential nest sites by hovering in front of a likely spot. The female makes the final decision about where to place the nest and does all the construction.
  • They are territorial and solitary nesters, often remaining year-round in an established territory.
  • A group of flycatchers has many collective nouns, including an "outfield", "swatting", "zapper", and "zipper" of flycatchers.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across North America.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION



SONGS AND CALLS

Xeno-Canto Sound

Black Phoebe A1

  • Title: Black Phoebe A1
  • Recordist: Andrew Spencer
  • Description: Song is a thin, high-pitched "tee-hee, tee".
  • Location: co
  • Date: "7/18/2016"

Black Phoebe A2

  • Title: Black Phoebe A2
  • Recordist: Andrew Spencer
  • Description: Call is a strong "tseep".
  • Location: ec
  • Date: "7/18/2016"

Black Phoebe A3

  • Title: Black Phoebe A3
  • Recordist: Andrew Spencer
  • Description: Dawn song consisting of "tee-hee, tee-who" phrases.
  • Location: AZ
  • Date: "7/18/2016"

Voice Text

"seek"

Vocalization

Black Phoebe: Song is a thin, buzzing "pi-tsee", usually repeated. Call is a sharp, down-slurred "chip."

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Artist

Michael Oberhofer

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Undertail covertsX
Small feathers that cover the areas where the retrices (tail feathers) attach to the rump.
BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
Outer tail feathersX
The tail feathers farthest from the center.
UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X