Documentation of Eastern Phoebe

Observer Information

Reporter:  Linda Chittum  397 Wind River Dr,   Grand Junction, CO  81504
Other Observers:  Ada Jones

Species, Date, Time and Location Information

Species:  Eastern Phoebe
First Date/Time:  10/19/2022 7:25:00 AM
Last Date/Time:  10/19/2022 1:30:00 PM
Duration (total time in view):  5-10 minutes
County:  Mesa
Specific Location:  Cheney Reservoir
Number:  1
Age:  Unknown
Sex:  Unknown
Plumage:  Non-breeding


Cottonwoods, Russian Olive, flooded field in Horsethief Canyon State Wildlife Area

Viewing Conditions

Optics:  Swarovski 8.5 x 42 binoculars
Distance:  30 feet
Light:  Sunny

Description of the Bird

First identified by Linda Chittum and subsequently seen by Ada Jones.

* Rare. Small flycatcher. Dark cap; dorsally dark grayish and from front grayish side to breast and light yellow beneath. Pale throat. Dark bill. No eye ring noted. Fresh plumage. Frequent, almost constant, rapid tail wags sometimes in circular motion. Forgot my DSLR battery! Recorded chip calls attached 

Notes are from my eBird checklist because I did not keep any detaied notes at the time other than these

Similar Species Discussion

Really all flycatchers were initially at play.  Empidonax spp. were eliminated based on size, shape, characterisic tail wags of the observed bird.

Say's Phoebe is common in the area but eliminated based on color and shape - there was no salmon/orange belly.  Black Phoebe also often documented at this location but the observed bird lacked the black and white coloration of Black Phoebe. 

Having extensive experience after spending 11 years living in Virginia this was promptly narrowed down to EAPH based on plumage, behavior (tail wags) and most importantly hearing the call notes repeatedly (chip calls recorded).

Resources Used

Experience - surely 100s of Eastern Phoebe observations in the east throughout all seasons.

Previous Experience

See prior.  Extensive experience.


Notes made DURING observation

Materials Available

Audio |


Date Documentation Submitted

1/25/2023 9:00:00 AM
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Location Map

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