Say’s Phoebe breeds in open country from the far-northern muskeg of Alaska to the sweltering sagebrush habitats of the southern Great Basin. It nests in cliffs and eroding banks as well as abandoned farm buildings.
Say’s may be confused with female or juvenile Vermilion Flycatchers which are smaller and usually streaked below. Unlike the other phoebes, Say’s usually flares rather than pumps their tail.
VOICE SOng an alernating series of sweet, whistled phrases: a falling pidirrreew and a rising pidrrreep. Call a mournful, slightly descending whistle, pee-ee
A group of flycatchers has many collective nouns, including an “outfield”, “swatting”, “zapper”, and “zipper” of flycatchers.
The numbers of this bird are declining, probably due to loss of habitat in its winter range.
The Say’s Phoebe breeds farther north than any other flycatcher, seemingly limited only by the lack of nest sites.
This bird was named for Thomas Say, the American naturalist.