Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebes made ornithological history in 1804 when John James Audubon tied silver thread on the legs of nestlings - the first North American experiment in bird banding. The next year he found two of his marked birds nesting nearby.


Roland Jordahl
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Phoebe nestlings


Eastern PhoebeRoland Jordahl
Roland Jordahl Eastern Phoebe

Scientific Name: Sayornis phoebe.
Family: Flycatcher.
Length: 7 inches.
Wingspan: 10-1/2 inches.
Distinctive Markings: White throat, long dark tail and a dark head.
Nest: Mud and moss, lined with grasses, hair and feathers, under a bridge, deck or in a cave entrance; holds two to six white eggs.
Voice: Calls its name in rapid successions, “phoebe, phoebe, phoebe.” Also, clear, whistled “weew” or “tiboo.”
Habitat: Near water, woods with streams, farmyards and along wooded country roads with bridges crossing streams.
Diet: Insects.
Backyard Favorites: Native plants to attract bugs.

Bird Song & Range Map

Listen to the Eastern Phoebe’s song and learn where to spot them!

Bird songs provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Eastern Phoebe Bird SpeciesRange maps provided by Kaufman Field Guides, the official field guide of Birds & Blooms.

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Jill Staake
Jill lives in Tampa, Florida, and writes about gardening, butterflies, outdoor projects and birding. When she's not gardening, you'll find her reading, traveling and happily digging her toes into the sand on the beach.