Black Phoebe

Sayornis nigricans
Black Phoebe thumbnail
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.

Marsh / swamp

Open water

Riparian / River forest
Bird Sound Type: Buzzing
Sex of Bird: Male
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Bibliographic details:

  • Article: Black Phoebe
  • Author(s): Dr. Biology
  • Publisher: Arizona State University School of Life Sciences Ask A Biologist
  • Site name: ASU - Ask A Biologist
  • Date published: July 13, 2017
  • Date accessed: March 24, 2018
  • Link:

APA Style

Dr. Biology. (2017, July 13). Black Phoebe. ASU - Ask A Biologist. Retrieved March 24, 2018 from

American Psychological Association. For more info, see

Chicago Manual of Style

Dr. Biology. "Black Phoebe". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 13 July, 2017.

MLA 2017 Style

Dr. Biology. "Black Phoebe". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 13 Jul 2017. ASU - Ask A Biologist, Web. 24 Mar 2018.

Modern Language Association, 7th Ed. For more info, see
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