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Bird Details

Perching Perching

Black Phoebe

Sayornis nigricans

Black Phoebe
copyright Richard P. Dunbar
Length: 7 in. (18 cm)
Almost always perched prominently on low vegetation, fences or buildings along water courses, the Black Phoebe makes itself obvious. It constantly wags it tail up and down and regularly finds a home in suburban areas of the west. It feeds on insects by constantly searching the ground and air around its perch. When the phoebe sees insect movements, it rushes down to the water's surface or up into the air above its perch to grab the insect expertly in its broad bill. Often puts it open mud nest in shady areas of bridges, buildings and other human structures. This same species nests all the way to Argentina along Andean mountain streams. The four-digit banding code is BLPH.

Open water
Open water

Riparian / River forest
Riparian / River forest

Marsh / swamp
Marsh / swamp

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Male
Buzzing (sound type)
Bird Call
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CR_BLPH_3_112402_S.jpg
Male
Buzzing (sound type)
Bird Call

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Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.