Black Phoebe

Sayornis nigricans

This small black flycatcher with a peaked head and white belly doesn’t seem to mind the presence of humans. It is often seen around picnic tables and in park parking lots, but only if shallow water is nearby, where the phoebe can find insects to eat and mud to build its nest. The purpose of the whisker-like bristles around the Black Phoebe’s beak, once thought to help it catch insects, is a mystery.

Fun Fact:
When perched, phoebes appear to wag their tails, pumping them up and down.

What’s for Lunch:
Insects and occasionally, a fish

Where’s Home:
Muddy places in the Reserve, year-round