Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 201

Common name:

Eastern Phoebe

Scientific name: Sayornis phoebe
Date: April 20, 2012
Time: 9-10:30 AM
Length of time observed: 3 x 10 mins
Number: 1
Age: AHY
Location: Red Butte Canyon (Upriver from Red Butter Garden)
County: Salt Lake
Elevation: ~4500 feet
Distance to bird: Observed from 100 to 20 meters
Optical equipment: 10x42 Leica
Weather: Clear Sunny and cool (40's)
Light Conditions: Bright
Description:        Size of bird: Sayornis (smaller than Say's Phoebe)
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Sayornis (smaller than Say's Phoebe)
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Dark head and back with light colored underparts.
(Description:)            Bill Type: Straight insect eating
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
 - Sayornis species
- Darkest plumage on head (darkest on crown)
- Brownish-black back
- Lacked eye ring
- Eye dark
- All black bill (Lower mandible entirely black)
- Dark face (Black/gray)
- White throat to middle of belly to vent
- Flanks faintly yellow to sides of belly
- Tail long, notched, and dark on upper
- Tail moved in waging, circular motion
Song or call & method of delivery: None heard
Behavior: Actively feeding from short (2-4 feet) perches, occasionally dropping to ground and picking up food items, and then back up to a perch.
Habitat: Grassy sedge meadow adjacent to Red Butte Creek and near water at a willow/grass edge.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
From Western Wood Peewee by lack of wingbars, larger, no yellow in lower bill, lack of vested look, and timing of migration.

From Willow Flycatcher by lack of wingbars and yellow in bill (bill shape).

From other Empidonax, (Dusky, Hammonds, Gray) by lack of any eye ring and overall plumage colors; Western Flycatcher by lack of eye ring and yellow in bill. All above have bills of different color and size than E. Phoebe.

From Black Phoebe by lack of extensive black and white pattern.

From Say's Phoebe by lack of orangish wash in flanks and undertail coverts and overall plumage color.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Considerable in Eastern US.
References consulted: Birds of North America Online
Description from: Notes taken at time of sighting
Observer: Jack Skalicky
Observer's address: 511 First Avenue, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84103
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Jon Gale and Jason Socci
Date prepared: 4-20 & finalized on 4-30
Additional material: None
Additional_Comments: Notes translated directly from field notes.