Black Phoebe

Order: Passeriformes
Family: Tyrannidae
Genus: Sayornis
Species: nigricans

La. passer  sparrow, small bird
La. forma
  form, kind, species
Gr. turannos
La. tyrannus
  tyrant, despot, king
La. Sayorins  for zoologist
      Thomas Say
La. nigricans
  blackish, swarthy

Black Phoebes, William Lovell Finley & Herman T. Bohlman

 William Lovell Finley & Herman T. Bohlman
American Birds, 1907


About seven inches long. Black or sooty brown head, breast and back. White underside. White wing linings and outer tail feathers. Exhibits typical phoebe up and down tail motion.

Year around resident in California, Arizona, New Mexico, west Texas and Mexico.

USGS Black Phoebe Map

Builds a mud and grass nest always under something on a wall, bridge or cliff often directly over, or near water on farms, in towns and some still in natural formations in California river valleys, its original habitat.

Lays 3-6 white eggs, which hatch after about two weeks incubation and young leave the nest in about another two weeks. Often raise two broods in a season.

Eats flying insects and skims floating insects on water like the cliff swallow.

The Phoebe platform has approximately a 6" by 6" base, approximately a 6" ceiling, an open front and partially open sides. 

Mount platform on the side of a garage, shed or porch under open shelter or an eave over looking both open spaces and foliage in your back yard from seven to twelve feet high. Carefully select a location that provides a balance of protection from predators and elements, access, and visibility.
Do not mount in a tree. Make sure objects that cats and squirrels can climb do not provide access to the nest. The idea is to simulate a cliff edge. They like to survey a wide berth from their roost. They also like bird baths.

Robins, Barn Swallows, Eastern Phoebes, Say's Phoebes and Song Sparrows may use this platform.


Black Phoebe Parent and Baby, William Lovell Finley & Herman T. Bohlman

Black Phoebes
William Lovell Finley & Herman T. Bohlman


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