Black Phoebe

The Black Phoebe, scientifically known as Sayornis nigricans, is a small passerine bird that belongs to the tyrant flycatcher family. These birds are common in North and Central America and are widely distributed within their range.

Basic Description

The Black Phoebe is about 6 inches long with a wingspan of around 11 inches. They have black or dark brown plumage on their head, back, wings, and tail. Their chest and belly are white in color, which creates a stark contrast against their dark body feathers. Additionally, they have a short bill that curves downward slightly at the tip.

Where To Find This Bird

Black Phoebes can be found throughout western North America from British Columbia to southern Mexico. During winter months some individuals have been seen venturing as far east as Indiana and New York City.


These birds prefer open areas near water sources such as rivers or lakes but can also inhabit dry areas like deserts or scrublands. You’ll often find them perched atop low hanging branches over streams where they will wait patiently for insects to come close before darting out to catch them mid-air.


As mentioned above these birds feed primarily on insects but will occasionally supplement their diet with fruit berries if available during certain times of year when food resources might be scarce due to changing weather patterns.

Cool Facts

– The name “phoebe” comes from the Greek word “phoibe,” meaning bright one.
– Black Phoebes are known for being relatively tame around humans making it easier for us to observe them up close.
– While many species of songbirds migrate south during fall/winter months Black Phoebes tend not too stray too far from their breeding grounds since they can generally find adequate food sources year-round.
– The black phoebe has benefited from human-created habitats by expanding its range into urban areas where it uses man-made structures for nesting sites.