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Say's Phoebe


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Like other phoebes, the rusty-bellied Say's Phoebe is common around people, often nesting on buildings. A bird of open country, it is found from Alaska through Mexico.

At a GlanceHelp

Both Sexes
6.7 in
17 cm
0.7–0.8 oz
21–22 g
Other Names
  • Moucherolle à ventre roux (French)
  • Papamoscas ilanero (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The Say's Phoebe breeds farther north than any other flycatcher, seemingly limited only by the lack of nest sites. It breeds north past tree line, and may be following the Alaska pipeline even farther north, nesting on the pipeline itself.



Open country, sagebrush, badlands, dry barren foothills, canyons, borders of deserts, and ranches. Often around buildings. Avoids watercourses and heavy forest.



Flying and terrestrial insects.


Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
3–7 eggs
Egg Description
White, sometimes with reddish spots.
Condition at Hatching
Helpless with sparse down.
Nest Description

Nest an open cup of rocks, weed stems, grass, plant fibers, spider webs and other items, lined with hair, fibers, paper, or feathers. Placed on ledge with cover, such as in a cave, or on a building or bridge.

Nest Placement




Flies from perch near ground and pursues flying insects. Also hovers and gleans insects off of vegetation.


status via IUCN

Least Concern

Say's Phoebe has benefited from use of human-made structures for nest sites, and populations showed a small increase between 1966 and 2014, according to the North America Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 4 million, with 85% spending some part of the year in the U.S., 62% in Mexico, and 6% breeding in Canada. The species rates an 8 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Say's Phoebe is not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List.


Range Map Help

View dynamic map of eBird sightings

Backyard Tips

Consider putting up a nest box to attract a breeding pair. Make sure you put it up well before breeding season. Attach a guard to keep predators from raiding eggs and young. Find out more about nest boxes on our Attract Birds pages. You'll find plans for building a nest box of the appropriate size on our All About Birdhouses site.



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