Black Phoebe is a distinctive flycatcher with a crisp black and white
pattern. They are almost always found near sources of water,
presumably due to the need for a source of mud to build their nests.
They are often seen sitting on a high perch, occasionally pumping their
tail, as they search for an insect. When an insect is spotted, they
will fly out from their perch to grab it, often in mid-air, and then often
returns to the same perch to consume its meal.
Habitat: Black Phoebes can be found in a variety
of open habitats, but they are almost always found near a water source. They
have adapted well to a human presence and often will nest and forage in and
around urban parks and other favorable locations.
Diet: The diet is almost exclusively insects and
spiders. They have also been known to sometimes eat minnows and other
Behavior: Catches much of its food by flycatching
(flying out from a perch to grab insects in mid-air). They will also
glean insects from plant foliage, or skim the water's surface to pick up
aquatic insects or small fish.
Nesting: The nest is built of mud mixed with plant
material, and placed on a sheltered location such as under a bridge, on a
cliff, or under the eaves of a building. Nests are often used for
multiple years. The female alone incubates the eggs, but both parents
will help to raise the young.
Song: Song of the Black Pheobe is a pair of high
whistled notes, uttered in a repeating series.
Migration: They are a permanent resident
throughout much of their range, but birds at higher elevations and those at
the northern edge of their range will migrate to more hospitable climates
for the winter.
Conservation Status: The IUCN currentlys shows the
Black Phoebe as a species of "Least Concern". Populations appear to be
stable and may even be increasing.
Photo Information: December 9th, 2011 - Pacific
coast near San Francisco - Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the photo names or
images chips below for higher-resolution photos of this species.