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Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Phoebe
At Madison, Wisconsin
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Clade: Inopinaves
Order: Passeriformes
Suborder: Tyranni
Infraorder: Tyrannides
Parvorder: Tyrannida
Family: Tyrannidae
Subfamily: Fluvicolinae
Genus: Sayornis
Species: S. phoebe
Binomial name
Sayornis phoebe
(Latham, 1790)
Click for other names
Other common names Barn Pewee, Bean Bird, Bridge Pewee, Dusky Flycatcher, Pewee, Pewit Flycatcher, Phoebe Bird, Water Pewee[2]

The Eastern Phoebe, Sayornis phoebe (say-OR-nis-FEE-bee[2]) is a species of bird in the tyrant flycatcher family Tyrannidae. It is named after its song, which resembles its nakesake. It is related to the Black Phoebe and Say's Phoebe, which are found in western North America.

Click for etymology

Genus: Sayornis; for Thomas Say, American entomologist, who accompanied Stephen Long on his 19th century expedition to the Rocky Mountains, during which the phoebe was collected became the type for the genus Sayornis; and -ornis, from a Greek word meaning bird—"Say's bird".[2]

Species name: Latin pronunciation of name resembles the call of the bird, from a Greek mythology of a daughter of Gaea.[2]


Similar species[]



Flying insects make up the majority of the Eastern Phoebe’s diet.[3] During the summer it is an exclusive insectivore,[4] and insects made up the majority of its summer diet.[5] Its diet changes in the fall when berries are often ingested; this allows the them survive in early winter and on rare occasions through the winter.[4]

Eats many beetles;[2] largest food items are wasps, ants, small wild bees; also eats flies, bugs, grasshoppers, crickets, dragonflies, moths, caterpillars, airborn spiders, millipedes and ticks.

While sitting atop tree branches and other perches, watches for insects and sallies to catch them in midair;[6] also catches food in foliage on the ground.[6]

Plucks aquatic insects[7] and fish from the water's surface,[6][7] in shallow water.[2] Even eats hairworms (Gordius) from water.[2]





  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Sayornis phoebe". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Terres, John K. (1980). The Audubon Society Encyclopedia of North American Birds. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. ISBN 0394466519. 
  3. ^ Species account at Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds.
  4. ^ a b Procter, Noble; Walker, Cyril and Parmenter, Tim (1996 ([originally 1985]). Garden Birds: How to Attract Birds to Your Garden. Rodell Publishing. ISBN 087596950X.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ Species account at Audubon's Guide to North American Birds.
  6. ^ a b c Alsop III, Fred J. (2001). Smithsonian Handbooks Birds of North America. Dorling Kindersley. ISBN 0789480018. 
  7. ^ a b Bezener, Andy (2016). Birds of Ontario. Lone Pine Publishing. ISBN 9781772130348. 

External links[]