Greater Pewee

Contopus pertinax




Tyrant Flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

White with brown and gray markings at large end

Number of Eggs:

3 - 4

Incubation Days:

12 - 13

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

10 - 40 feet above ground.

Nest Material:

Lined with fine grass, weeds, leaves, lichen and other vegetation.





Greater Pewee: Large, plump flycatcher with olive-gray upperparts, white throat, gray breast, and pale yellow belly. Crest is slender. Bill is broad, flat, and two-toned: upper mandible is dark while lower is orange. Wings and tail are dark. Sexes are similar.

Range and Habitat

Greater Pewee: This species breeds from central Arizona and southwestern New Mexico southward into northwestern Texas. Casually occurs in southwest Texas. Spends winters mainly south of the U.S.-Mexico border into central Mexico. Its preferred habitats include highland coniferous forests, especially pine and pine-oak.

Breeding and Nesting

Greater Pewee: Three or four white eggs, marked with brown and gray at large end, are laid in a compact, woven, grass-lined cup nest set high on a horizontal limb, secured with cobwebs and camouflaged on the outside. Incubation ranges from 12 to 13 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Greater Pewee: Eats mostly flying insects, but also berries in winter. Sits erect, often on a treetop perch, turning its head from side to side watching for prey, which it catches in mid-air or on the ground.


Greater Pewee: Sings a functional song, used in territorial defense and mate attraction, a plaintive "ho-say ma-ree-ah."

Similar Species

Greater Pewee: Olive-sided Flycatcher has darker sides, darker bill, and white patches above the wings (not always visible). Western Wood-Pewee is smaller with a darker bill.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
The upper front part of a bird.
Tufts of feathers on the head of the bird.
Upper mandibleX
The upper part of the bill.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X