Sayornis phoebe

Physical characteristics: Eastern phoebes are about 7 inches (18 centimeter) long with gray-brown heads and backs, white undersides, and black bills, legs, and feet. Males and females look alike.

Geographic range: Eastern phoebes are found east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada. They are migratory birds, moving north to nest in the summer and south to winter in coastal South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and along the Gulf of Mexico as far south as the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico.

Habitat: Eastern phoebes live in open land along the edge of forests and along rivers and streams. They survive very well close to humanmade structures such as bridges, roads, and farms.

Diet: Eastern phoebes hawk for insects. They will also eat small fish and berries.

Behavior and reproduction: Eastern phoebes mate two or three times a year, usually with the same partner. They build a cup-shaped nest out of mud attached to a vertical wall, such as a cliff, pole, or building.

Eastern phoebes and people: Eastern phoebes often live near human structures and take advantage of them as places to build nests. They eat large numbers of insects, but are not especially significant to people.

Conservation status: Eastern phoebes are common in many parts of their range and are in no immediate danger of extinction. ■



Hilty, Steven L. Birds of Venezuela. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003.

Ridgley, Robert S., and Guy Tudor. The Birds of South America. Vol 2, The Suboscine Passerines. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1994.

Sibley, David. The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2001.

Web sites:

Deeble, B. "Rose-Throated Becard." The Nature Conservancy. (accessed on May 4, 2004).

Robertson, Don. "Bird Families of the World." [email protected] Bay. (accessed on May 4, 2004).

SHARPBILL Oxyruncidae

Class: Aves

Order: Passeriformes

Family: Oxyruncidae

One species: Sharpbill (Oxyruncus cristatus)

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