Documentation of Black Phoebe

Observer Information

Reporter:  Ted Floyd  2009 S Fork Dr,   LAFAYETTE, CO  80026-3136
Other Observers:  None with me at the time of the sighting, but numerous subsequent reports.

Species, Date, Time and Location Information

Species:  Black Phoebe
First Date/Time:  4/3/2015 10:04:00 AM
Last Date/Time:  4/3/2015 10:20:00 AM
Duration (total time in view):  16 minutes
County:  Boulder
Specific Location:  Boulder Creek & 75th Street
Number:  1
Age:  Adult
Sex:  Male
Plumage:  Breeding


Along and in Boulder Creek

Viewing Conditions

Optics:  10x42 binoculars, Canon SX50 camera
Distance:  50-200 ft.
Light:  shaded (because I was in the woods near the creek)

Description of the Bird

Phoebe-sized flycatcher; erect, tail-pumping, active. Feeding close to and even in the water; tail-dipping; both sang and called. Interacted extensively with an Eastern Phoebe, apparently a female, including visiting a nest site.

Black above, white below; black breast sharply demarcated from white belly by pronounced upside-down V shape. Slightly crested; paler marks on coverts and tertials/secondaries contrasted with dark upper parts. Eye dark. See photos, attached.

Vocalizations: bright "chip" call and slurred "tsee-oo" song element.

Similar Species Discussion

Torrent Tyrannulet, Little Forktail... :-)

No, Black Phoebe is pretty distinctive. One problem, though, is Eastern Phoebe ancestry. As Eastern and Black phoebes--both populations of which are expanding in Colorado--come into contact, the problem of hybridization is acute. See recent articles in Colorado Birds and Western Birds by Pieplow and others. This bird, at least, appeared "pure," with its quite dark upper parts.

Resources Used

None--although I of course reviewed the photos I obtained.

Note: The files I'm uploading are uncropped, unedited originals. If you want to see cropped-in images, here they are:

Click on the images to enlarge.

Previous Experience

I've seen Black Phoebes extensively in North America, Middle America, and South America. I've seen all three phoebe species in Boulder County and elsewhere. Also, I've seen known or suspected hybrids (Black x Eastern) on several occasions in Las Animas County, Colorado.



Materials Available

Photographer: Ted Floyd

Photos |


Date Documentation Submitted

4/15/2015 3:15:00 PM
Click left or right edges of photos to move through all; click outside image to close

Location Map

The marker on the map shows an approximation of the location of this report. The marker is generated using a prioritized Logic base:
1) If the observer has entered coordinates, they will be shown.
2) No specific coordinates are available but the location is mappable.
3) A generic location with no specific coordinates is mapped to the center of the reported county.

Powered By Subgurim( Maps ASP.NET