Say's Phoebe

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Sayornis saya

Say's Phoebe

The Say's Phoebe is a slender and long- tailed flycatcher with a large head that often looks flat on top. Sometimes, they raise their head feathers into a small peak at the back.

Adults measure about 6.7 inches in length and weigh about 21 - 22 grams.

They have pale grayish-brown upperparts with darker head, wings and tail. Upperwing shows pale brown-grey margins on wing-coverts and flight- feathers, the latter being almost translucent in flight. Tail is mostly brownish-black.

Throat and breast are pale grayish-brown, but paler than the upperparts. Belly, flanks and undertail- coverts are cinnamon. Forehead is slightly paler, whereas crown and nape are mostly darker gray. The lores may appear blackish. Bill, legs and feet are black. The eyes are dark brown.

Males and females are similar.

Juveniles are browner above, and two cinnamon wingbars are formed by the tips of both median and greater coverts.

CALL: Typical call is a thin, plaintive “pee-ee” slightly down slurred.

SONG: A fast “pit-tse-ar” often given while the bird performs fluttering flight. This species may also perform bill-snapping during aggressive encounters.

Feeds primarily on insects such as bees, wasps, winged ants, beetles, moths, grasshoppers, crickets and dragonflies. It also takes spiders and millipedes, and may occasionally consume berries.

Found in open areas in valleys and foothills, often in dry areas, farmland, savannahs or prairies in south, and mainly in dry upland tundra in north. It usually avoids the forested areas, preferring sparsely wooded places with low, scattered shrubs. They are known for nesting in residential areas.

Breeds in Northern Alaska, South through Western Canada and West and Western Central USA to Central Mexico.

Winters from Southern USA (California East to Texas) South to Central and Southern Mexico.

The female builds a flat, open, cup-shaped nest with grass, weeds, moss, spider webs, wools, but this species does not use mud. It is lined with hair, wool and feathers.

The female lays 3-7 (usually 4) white eggs with small dark spots. She incubates alone during 12 - 14 days.



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