Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans


Black Phoebe
The Black Phoebe is an abundant, bold and attractive flycatcher seen year round where I live in Northern California, always near water, with a range extending north to Oregon and through the southwestern states, Mexico, and Central America to South America. It is the western counterpart of the Eastern Phoebe.


Black Phoebe


Black Phoebe
A Black Phoebe in flight, heading right into the camera: a reminder that this is a predator, with flying insects as its prey.


Black Phoebe
Carrying food to the nest.

Black Phoebe
Juvenile Black Phoebes, above in June, below with plumage more worn in September.  Nearly black upperpart feathers, set off by buff wingbars.

Black Phoebe

Black Phoebe
This is a juvenile, as shown by the yellow rictal flange, or "lip," behind the bill. But its plumage is both faded to light brown, a color not normal for a juvenile of this species, and heavily worn, also not normal for a bird in its first few months; the bird should resemble the one shown in the picture second above, also a June juvenile. Both abnormalities could be explained by a deficiency of melanin in the feathers, which would make them both lighter in color and more susceptible to wear. (Thanks to Alvaro Jaramillo for help with this bird.)
 

Black Phoebe
Above and below, more views of adult Black Phoebes.

Black Phoebe
Playing shorebird, on a rocky Pacific Ocean beach at the tip of the Monterey Peninsula.