Boreal Birds
300+ species, billions of birds rely on Canada's boreal forest as critical breeding grounds
© Wolfgang Wander/Wikimedia Commons (CC 3.0)

Say's Phoebe

Say's Phoebe
Sayornis saya
Perching Birds | Family: Tyrant Flycatchers, Tyrannidae

An estimated 5% of the species' North American population breeds within the Boreal Forest.

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Overview

Although primarily insect eaters (as are all flycatchers), Say's Phoebes will eat other foods, such as berries, during long spells of cold, inclement weather, when insects are unavailable.

Description

7-8" (18-20 cm). Dusky head, breast, and back, with darker wings and black tail. Light rust-colored belly and undertail coverts.

Voice

A mellow, whistled pee-ur with a plaintive quality.

Nesting

4 or 5 white eggs in a nest of grass and wool in a sheltered, elevated, dry site on a ledge, rock wall, or building.

Habitat

Plains, sparsely vegetated countryside, dry sunny locations, often near ranch houses, barns, and other buildings.

Range/Migration

Breeds from central Alaska, Yukon, and northern Mackenzie south through western mountains to Mexico; not present west of the Cascades and Sierra Nevada except locally in south-central California and western Oregon. Winters in California and Southwest southward.