Birda Logo
loading...
A photo of a Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)
Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe

Sayornis phoebe

The Eastern Phoebe, Sayornis phoebe, is a modestly sized passerine, a member of the Tyrannidae family. It is characterized by a somewhat large head, which can appear even more pronounced when its small crest is raised. The bird's plumage is a muted gray-brown on the upper parts, transitioning to a white throat. The breast is a dingy gray, while the underparts are buff, becoming whiter as the breeding season progresses. Each wing bears two indistinct buff bars. The Eastern Phoebe is distinguishable from its relatives by its lack of an eye ring and wingbars, as well as its all-dark bill. A notable behavior is its tail pumping, a motion it shares with other phoebes.

Identification Tips

When identifying the Eastern Phoebe, look for its sharp "chip" call and its distinctive song, which sounds like "fee-bee." The bird's habit of tail bobbing while perched is a key identification feature. Its size is also a clue, with a length of 5.5-6.7 inches (14-17 cm), a wingspan of 10.2-11.0 inches (26-28 cm), and a weight of 0.6-0.7 ounces (16-21 g).

Habitat

The Eastern Phoebe thrives in a variety of environments, including wooded areas near streams, farmlands, and urban settings. It prefers the shelter of trees, brush, or overhangs, avoiding open spaces.

Distribution

This bird breeds in eastern North America, with its range excluding the southeastern coastal United States. It is migratory, wintering in the southern United States and Central America.

Behaviour

The Eastern Phoebe is an insectivore, often seen perched conspicuously as it hunts for food. It also consumes fruits and berries when the weather turns colder. This species is known for its adaptability, often nesting on human-made structures.

Song & Calls

The Eastern Phoebe's vocalizations include a sharp "chip" call and a song that resembles "fee-bee."

Breeding

Breeding occurs in open woodlands, farmlands, and suburban areas, often near water. The nest is an open cup with a mud base, lined with moss and grass, and is typically built in a crevice or on a man-made structure. The Eastern Phoebe lays two to six eggs and is known to raise two broods annually. It may occasionally become a host to the nest-parasitic Brown-headed Cowbird.

Similar Species

The Eastern Wood Pewee (Contopus virens) is remarkably similar in appearance but can be differentiated by its lack of the buff hue found in the Eastern Phoebe's plumage, its clearly defined wing-bars, and the absence of habitual tail bobbing.

Diet and Feeding

The Eastern Phoebe's diet consists primarily of insects, but it will also eat fruits and berries in colder weather. It is often observed perching in open areas as it searches for food.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List classifies the Eastern Phoebe as Least Concern, indicating that it is not currently at significant risk of widespread decline.

App logo
Birda is a birdwatching app and community aimed at curious people who want to deepen their connection with nature.

Eastern Phoebes on Birda

Photos
Sightings

More Tyrant Flycatchers, Calyptura

Birda Logo

Your birdwatching journey like never before

Connect with nature in minutes
Take a walk, look out of the window and log the birds that you see. Feel good about those little connections to nature.
Discover the joy of birding
Find new birding spots, see more birds, share and celebrate with a like-minded community of nature lovers.
Play your part in saving nature
Logging your birding sightings and sessions turns into positive action for our planet. Every sighting counts.

Birda Blog

What Our Birders Say
Chudbond
Love Birda
I love this app. It really encourages you to log your sightings and the community is friendly and helpful.
Talli A
My favourite app
As a young birdwatcher who was always keen to be apart of a community but never seemed to find one, my problem was solved downloading this!!! Everyone is so friendly and just as excited to see birds as me 😁
Abi.M
Awesome App
I really enjoy using this app! It is such a friendly community of bird-lovers who are happy to help if I need ID advice. It’s been great motivation to get outdoors and go birding more! 10/10 😍😍
Dan R
Great app for bird fanatics
Great app for bird fanatics - very user friendly and a perfect place to share sightings.
778
Great bird recording
For a while I’ve been trying to find an app to easily record bird lists and day out and struggled to find one that I like. Birda is great for this, straightforward and a great community!
Marlster24
Very Wholesome App
Joined this app with a new interest in watching birds to help me find out what I was spotting. The community is very active in helping identify birds which is great and everyone is very kind so it’s just a nice wholesome community. I would definitely recommend this for any bird spotter πŸ˜„
Erna M
I really like Birda
I really like Birda. I also use other birding apps and have Birda with E-bird going at the same time.
Alex J
Friendly and helps to identify birds
Great birding app, good for logging your sightings, also has nice species guide. I'm enjoying the social aspect more than I expected, everyone seems friendly and helps to identify unknown birds. Good mix of newbies and experienced users.
EandB17
Terrific App for Birders
Downloaded Birda around the time my interest in birding was sparked, and it has been a terrific app to help me (1) share my experience, (2) document my sightings, and (3) learn more about birds in general. That said, I also believe Birda is a fantastic app for birders of all experience levels. Great community!
Louise L
Easy to use and accurate
Love this app. It is easy to use and accurate, Their backup communication is really good. I noted a missing species. All through the process, I was kept informed about the progress in correcting the information. I now have the corrected, updated version. 😁 Thanks!
As featured in
Connect with nature,
Find your flock
Download Birda - QR Code
Β© 2024 All rights reserved