This bird is a medium-sized flycatcher, being 16cm (6.3 in) in length and weighing 15 to 22 g.It has black plumage, with white on its belly and undertail coverts. The white forms an inverted 'V' in the lower breast.Both sexes are identical, and plumage does not vary seasonally. Juveniles have browner plumage, cinnamon-brown feather tips on their body, and brown wing-bars. The bird has brown irises.

Habitat and Distribution

The Black Phoebe breeds in the west and southwest United States, Mexico and Central America.It is found in Oregon in river valleys on the Pacific coast and the western side of the Californian Coast Ranges. It breeds throughout the Colorado River, southern Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico. In Slouth America it is found in the coastal mountains of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru Bolivia and Argentina.


The bird is insectivorous, and waits on a perch before flying out and catching its prey in the air.


It makes an open cup nest which is placed under a cliff or a bridge and cemented in its place with mud.

Calls and Songs

Its song consists of two alternating phrases (tee-hee, tee-ho or sisee, sitsew), more commonly sung by males.