Western woodpewee

Contopus sordidulus

SUBFAMILY

Fluvicolinae

TAXONOMY

Contopus sordidulus Slater, P.L., 1859. OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Pioui de l'Ouest; German: Forst-Piwih; Spanish: Pibi Occidental.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

6.25 in (16 cm). Dark grayish brown plumage overall, with paler underparts and two thin white bars on wings. Bill is dark with yellow-orange lower mandible base.

DISTRIBUTION

Central Alaska south across most of the western half of North America, through western Mexico and Central America. Winters from Panama to Peru.

HABITAT

Inhabits riparian woodlands, and open, mountainous, mixed conifer and hardwood forests.

BEHAVIOR

Solitary dweller, remains mostly quiet and hidden. Sings "tsee-tee-teet!" on breeding grounds. Also uses soft, nasal whistle "peeer!" Frequently sings until after dark and before daylight. Shakes its wings when landing on perch. Migratory.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Perches to watch for food; hawks prey in midair. Eats variety of flying insects; occasionally feeds on spiders and berries.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Breeds monogamously once per year. Nest is cup-shaped, built by the female, and sits on a horizontal branch of a (usually coniferous) tree, bound to the branch by spider web. Brood is two to four eggs, incubated by the female for 12 to 13 days.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened, though some populations in California are declining for unknown reasons. Vulnerable to deforestation in wintering areas.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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