Fun Say's Phoebe Facts For Kids

Oluwatosin Michael
Apr 28, 2023 By Oluwatosin Michael
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Smriti Chaudhary
Say's Phoebe facts about the North American nesting bird from the family Tyrannidae.

Have you ever imagined how a little bird can catch insects so quickly? Have you heard of Say's Phoebe (Sayornis saya)?

It is the soft-voiced flycatcher of the West. But how can you distinguish between males and females? Well, it is through their song as the difference is most conspicuous during the beginning of the breeding season in March and April when they call actively.

As per the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the breeding range for Say's Phoebe extends across central Mexico and right to the Arctic tundra. The Say's Phoebe (Sayornis saya) has been noticed as this bird might follow the Alaska pipeline towards the north, and most of the time, nest on the pipeline itself.

Curious to learn more about it, are you? Here are some interesting and fun facts about this bird. If you want to learn more about Say's Phoebe, read on, and also check out the Black Phoebe and Brown Thrasher.

Say's Phoebe Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Say's Phoebe?

As per the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Say's Phoebe (Sayornis saya) is a small cute songbird that is commonly seen in the United States. It has a long tail with a relatively large head.

This bird of North America is called the soft-voiced flycatcher of the West. It is very adaptable and often lives in residential areas. It catches insects very fastly.

What class of animal does a Say's Phoebe belong to?

According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Say's Phoebe is a bird that belongs to the Tyrannidae family. This bird of North America has several similarities with the Eastern Phoebe.  It is a passerine bird in the order of Passeriformes. The arrangement of toes is different for this type of bird which facilitates perching.

How many Say's Phoebes are there in the world?

There is no exact estimate on the total population of Say's Phoebes in North America, But it is generally assumed that the population of this species is stable across its North American habitats. Hence, their conservation is of no concern at present.

Where does a Say's Phoebe live?

Say's Phoebe breed from Alaska through western Canada to western Mexico. Say's Phoebes prefer a dry habitat where trees are not present. You can get hold of a range map, field guide, and bird guide if you are interested in witnessing these majestic birds in all their glory.

What is a Say's Phoebe's habitat?

As per Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Say's Phoebes love to live in a dry arid habitat. Say's Phoebes prefer treeless habitats with cliffs for nesting. Birds of this species also have a habit of migrating during winter. These nesting birds also build their nest in residential areas. Say's Phoebes are naturally adaptable to any type of habitat.

Who do Say's Phoebes live with?

Say's Phoebes prefer to live in pairs. Females build the nest and both of them stay together until the eggs are hatched.

How long does a Say's Phoebe live?

The Say's Phoebe's lifespan is around 8-10 years maximum in the wild. In captivity, birds of this species might live for a longer period.

How do they reproduce?

The Say's Phoebe (order Passeriformes and family Tyrannidae) breeds in the far north which is quite different from any flycatcher. This decision is primarily due to a lack of nesting sites.

Female Say's Phoebes build the nest in a cup-shaped manner and attach the nests under bridges, wells, or abandoned mine shafts. During the breeding season, these nesting birds lay three to six eggs and the incubation period is for 12-18 days after which the chicks are born.

What is their conservation status?

The species is common in the areas of the West. Their population has increased slightly and they are not thought to be of any concern.

This species is under the Least Concern conservation status as an adequate number of these nesting flycatchers are present in the wild. Say's Phoebes are ready to adapt and build their nests more on man-made structures. They are not anywhere near the risk of extinction.

Say's Phoebe Fun Facts

What do Say's Phoebes look like?

The Say's Phoebe is a cute medium-sized bird with a relatively large head. It is a songbird and known as the soft-voiced flycatcher of the West. It is grayish brown with a black tail and a cinnamon-colored belly.

It appears to be slim and cute and likes to live in dry areas. It is similar to the Eastern Phoebe.

While flying, their outer wing feathers are visible. The juvenile is salmon-colored. You can catch these flycatchers in action during migration in the U.S. with the help of a range map and a bird guide.

Say's Phoebes.

How cute are they?

The name of the bird itself is cute, isn't it? The flycatchers are medium-sized with large heads compared to their bodies. Say's Phoebes are very cute in their appearance as well as for their soft voices.  Their innocent appearance and natural adapting quality make them more cute and attractive. Even their photos are extremely adorable to look at.

How do they communicate?

The Say's Phoebe communicates like all other birds. Birds of this species use soft chip notes to communicate with other birds. The song of the Eastern Phoebe bird consists of two simple vocalizations repeated over and over.

How big is a Say's Phoebe?

The Say's Phoebe is a medium-sized bird that is 7.5 in (19.1 cm) long and 2.1 in (5.3 cm) tall. Birds of this species are on average 10 times bigger than flies.

How fast can a Say's Phoebe fly?

The Say's Phoebe has a quick flight speed. As these birds of North America prey upon insects, the flycatcher has got a talent for flying very fast across its habitat in the U.S.

How much does a Say's Phoebe weigh?

The Say's Phoebe is a medium-sized bird that weighs around 0.7-0.8 oz (19.8-22.7 g). These birds are cute with relatively large heads and slim bodies.

What are the male and female names of the species?

As the Say's Phoebe is a bird, its species is S. saya. Both the adult male and female of the species are called males and females respectively.

What would you call a baby Say's Phoebe?

A baby Say's Phoebe does not have any particular name. It can be called a baby bird or a chick.

What do they eat?

The Say's Phoebe's primary diet comprises a variety of insects. Adult Phoebes eat several terrestrial insects as well as flying ones. They are also known to eat berries.

Are they dangerous?

The Say's Phoebe is not dangerous. This nesting species comprises harmless birds that often build their nest in residential areas. These flycatchers only feed on small insects and do not harm any other creatures.

Would they make a good pet?

Since these birds sometimes build their nest in buildings and other residential areas, the flycatchers are adaptable. But these flycatchers also migrate from one place to another according to climate change. These breeding birds are not very suitable for making a pet but can be good for watching.

Did you know...

The Say’s Phoebe always prefers dry land compared to other places.

Adult flycatchers like to build their nests on man-made structures more than in natural places.

Do Phoebes reuse nests?

Adult flycatchers of this species build their nest in natural places like trees, cavities, cliffs, and rocks. Their nests have also been found in man-made structures like bridges, buildings, and cross beams. Adult birds also have the habit of reusing and renovating the nest during subsequent years.

Do Phoebes eat wasps?

Like most flycatchers, adult flycatchers of this species also prey heavily on bees and wasps along with other insects.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our Snow Goose Fun Facts and Loggerhead Shrike Facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our Say's Phoebe coloring pages.

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Written by Oluwatosin Michael

Bachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

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Oluwatosin MichaelBachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

With a Bachelor's in Microbiology from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Oluwatosin has honed his skills as an SEO content writer, editor, and growth manager. He has written articles, conducted extensive research, and optimized content for search engines. His expertise extends to leading link-building efforts and revising onboarding strategies. 

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Fact-checked by Smriti Chaudhary

Bachelor of Technology specializing in Information Technology

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Smriti ChaudharyBachelor of Technology specializing in Information Technology

Smriti, a student data scientist, and coder, is pursuing her Bachelor of Technology at K.J. Somaiya College of Engineering. She has achieved top rankings in the International English Olympiad, National Spelling Bee, and PSAT/SAT English Section. She is experienced in content creation and editing for various academic institutions.

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