Sayornis saya Bonaparte, 1825. Monotypic.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
French: Moucherolle а ventre roux; German: Sayphoebe; Spanish: Mosquero Llanero.
7.5 in (19 cm). Plumage includes brownish gray upperparts, pale grayish brown throat and breast, tawny buff belly and undertail coverts, and blackish brown tail feathers. Bill is small and black; legs and feet are also black. Sexes are similar.
Alaska to Texas along the western half of North America (excluding the coast). Winters throughout Mexico.
Savannas, farmlands, and open brushlands. Not as tied to watercourses as other phoebes.
While perched, song is a whistled, down-slurred “phee-eur!” or “chu-weer!” In flight, utters a quick “pit-se-ar!” Frequently sings at dawn. Lives singly or in pairs. Conspicuously perches on exposed branches, wires, posts, buildings, and other structures. Migratory.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Eats insects and rarely berries; sometimes regurgitates insect exoskeletons. Eyes prey from perch or while hovering, and sallies forth to capture in midair (often with a loud snap of the mandibles).
Nest, built by the female, is cup-shaped and adheres to the vertical wall of a cave, cliff, bridge, or building. Monogamously breeds once to twice per year. Female incubates clutch of three to seven eggs for 12 to 14 days. Juveniles’ fledge at 14 to 16 days.
Not threatened. Rarely hosts cowbird parasitism.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
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