Black Phoebe (nest w/young)

Sayornis nigricans

Black Phoebes in nest, Sayornis nigricans, photo © by Mike Plagens

This nest with young was found in the protection of a road culvert adjacent to Sycamore Creek, Mazatzal Mts., Maricopa Co., Arizona, USA. 16 May 2010.

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Black Phoebe is also found in the Sonoran Desert Where there is shallow water, be it at the edge of a lake or pond or in moist canyon bottoms where sycamore trees flourish, Black Phoebes are common residents from spring through autumn. Phoebes are flycatchers that specialize on the winged stages of aquatic insects. From a strategic vantage point they scan the water surface and the air above for meals on the wing. Once a target is identified the black and white hunter swoops toward it and captures it mid-flight and returns to its original perch. Sometimes they will snatch an insect or even a small fish straight from the water.

The nest is constructed from fresh mud and strands of dry grass: avian adobe. The mud is plastered to a near verticle surface such as a cliff or drainage culvert. There the nest is out of the rain and rather inaccessible to predators like snakes and ringtails.

Summer Resident - Migration to Neotropics for winter months

Tyrannidae -- Tyrant Flycatcher Family

More Information:

Arizona Naturalist
Sycamore Canyons
The Fauna of Arizona's Sycamore Canyons


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2015