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Say's Phoebe

Sayornis saya

Length: 7.5 inches Wingspan: 12.5 inches Seasonality: Summer
ID Keys: Pale orange-buff belly and undertail, gray upperparts.

Say's Phoebe - Sayornis sayaSay's Phoebe is a phoebe of drier habitats in the western part of the U.S.  They will often nest on and around farm buildings in the western part of the state.  They can often be seen on the highest perch in a particular area, keeping an eye out for insects.  Where a suitable perch is absent, they will also hover as they forage.

Habitat: Prefers open terrain such as prairies, rangeland, farmland, and canyons. 

Diet: Almost exclusively insects, rarely berries. Has the lovely habit of coughing up indigestible insect parts.

Behavior: Typical flycatcher behavior when foraging...observing from a perch, and flying out to catch insects when they are spotted. 

Nesting: May through July

Song: Say's Phoebe Song

Migration: Summers in Western U.S., Canada, and Alaska.  Winters in the southwestern U.S., Mexico, and Central America.

Interactive eBird map: Click here to access an interactive eBird map of Say's Phoebe sightings

Similar Species: Quite similar to female Vermillion Flycatcher.

Conservation Status: Generally stable or potentially increasing in some areas.  They have learned to adapt to human presence, and now often nest in residential areas. They are found across a broad geographic area and are common in parts of their range. The IUCN considers Say's Phoebe to be a species of "Least Concern".

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Say's Phoebe

2) Audubon Guide - Say's Phoebe

3) WhatBird - Say's Phoebe

Photo Information: May 2nd, 2008 - Bryce Canyon, Utah - Terry Sohl

Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution Say's Phoebe photos.


Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Say's Phoebe - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Fairly common summer resident in the western 2/3rds of the state

Additional Say's Phoebe Photos
Click for a higher-resolution version of these photos
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