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Eastern Phoebe

Sayornis phoebe


Its plumage is gray-brown above. It has a white throat, dirty gray breast and buffish underparts which become whiter during the breeding season. Two indistinct buff bars are present on each wing. Its lack of an eye ring and wingbars, and its all dark bill distinguish it from other North American tyrant flycatchers, and it pumps its tail up and down like other phoebes when perching on a branch. The Eastern Phoebe's call is a sharp chip, and the song, from which it gets its name, is fee-bee. The nest is an open cup with a mud base and lined with moss and grass, built in crevice in a rock or man-made site; 3–8 eggs are laid. Both parents feed the young and usually raise two broods per year. The Eastern Phoebe is occasionally host to the nest-parasitic Brown-headed Cowbird.


Open woodland, farmland and suburbs, often near water. Nesting can take place on human structures such as bridges and buildings.


It took three tries for this set of phoebe's to raise some young (of their own). The first nest was damaged in a storm, the second time a cowbird egg had been laid in their nest, hatched and eventually kicked the little baby phoebe's out of the nest. Third time's a charm!

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albear1960 5 years ago

Thanks, I added to the Animal Architecture mission!

Ava T-B
Ava T-B 5 years ago

Nice to have a happy ending! Please consider adding this spotting to the Animal Architecture mission at

Missouri, USA

Lat: 36.97, Long: -93.19

Spotted on Jul 2, 2012
Submitted on Jul 4, 2012


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