Phoebe (bird)

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Sayornis phoebe -Owen Conservation Park, Madison, Wisconsin, USA-8.jpg
Sayornis phoebe
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Tyrannidae
Genus: Sayornis
Bonaparte, 1854

See text.

The genus Sayornis is a small group of medium-sized insect-eating birds, known as phoebes, in the tyrant flycatcher family Tyrannidae. The genus name Sayornis is constructed from the specific part of Charles Lucien Bonaparte's name for Say's phoebe, Muscicapa saya, and Ancient Greek ornis, "bird".[1] The English Phoebe is a name for the Roman moon-goddess Diana.[2]


They are native to North and South America.

They prefer semi-open or open areas. These birds wait on a perch and then catch insects. Their nest is an open cup sometimes placed on man-made structures.

They often slowly lower and raise their tails while perched.


The genus contains three species:[3]

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
Sayornis phoebe -Owen Conservation Park, Madison, Wisconsin, USA-8.jpg Sayornis phoebe Eastern phoebe eastern North America
Black Phoebe - Colombia S4E4664.jpg Sayornis nigricans Black phoebe United States, Mexico and Central America, and parts of South America
Say's Phoebe fledgling (14428604837).jpg Sayornis saya Say's phoebe United States and Canada


  1. ^ Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 349. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  2. ^ "Phoebe". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2019). "Tyrant flycatchers". World Bird List Version 9.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 29 June 2019.