Eastern Phoebe

photo by Phil Swanson

Sayornis phoebe
L 7″ (18 cm).

Song or calls:
Song is harsh, emphatic “fee-be,” with accent on first syllable. Call is sharp “chip.”

Description: Sexes similar. Brownish-gray above, being darkest on the head, wings, and tail. Underparts are mostly white with pale olive wash on sides and breast. Fall birds have a yellow wash below. All black bill, and lacks eye ring and distinct wing bars. Juveniles are browner above, with two buffy wing bars and a cinnamon rump.

Behavior: Has habit of pumping and spreading its tail.

Bird Map
Habitat: Normally found near water in woodlands or partially wooded areas including farmsteads, farm buildings, bridges, and other locations with artificial or natural ledges that are protected from above.

Where in Nebraska: Common spring and fall migrant and summer resident in eastern Nebraska. Extends west along major river valleys. Common breeder statewide in proper habitat.

Fun Facts: An Eastern Phoebe was the first bird to be banded in North America, in 1804 by John James Audubon.

Eastern Phoebe - photo by Phil Swanson Eastern Phoebe - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)