Phainopepla nitens




Silky Flycatcher (Ptilogonatidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Gray with brown and black spots and blotches

Number of Eggs:

2 - 4

Incubation Days:


Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

4 - 50 feet above ground.

Nest Material:

Sticks and plant down bound with spider silk.


Northern birds migrate



Phainopepla: Small, flycatcher-like bird with glossy black body. Head has distinct crest and short, thin bill. Wings have large white patches visible in flight. Tail is long. Iris is red. Female and juvenile are gray overall with pale wing patches.

Range and Habitat

Phainopepla: Breeds in the northern interior of California, southern Nevada, southern Utah, central Arizona, and southern New Mexico southward into Mexico and the Baja Peninsula. Spends winters in the southern part of its breeding range. Primarily found in washes, riparian areas, and other habitats that support arid scrubs.

Breeding and Nesting

Phainopepla: Two to four gray eggs with brown and black spots and blotches are laid in a shallow nest built in a mistletoe-bearing desert tree, usually along a wash or river. Eggs are incubated for 14 days by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Phainopepla: Diet consists of mistletoe berries and insects; undigested seeds in droppings contribute to mistletoe dispersal.


Phainopepla: Common calls include an up-slurred, whistled "hoooeet" and a low "quirk." Song is short and warbled.

Similar Species

Phainopepla: Male is unique. Gray Silky Flycatcher resembles female, but has a gray head and breast, dark gray upperparts, gray-black wings, and dull gray-brown throat.

Tufts of feathers on the head of the bird.
Relating to or living or located on the bank of a natural watercourse (as a river) or sometimes of a lake or a tidewater. 
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X