Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 201

Common name:

Eastern Phoebe

Scientific name: Sayornis phoebe
Date: Oct. 12, 2012
Time: 4:30PM
Length of time observed: 10 minutes
Number: 1
Age: Probable HY Bird
Location: Found along Canyon Road (the southern route to Fish Springs NWR via the paved powerplant road) about two miles north of the end of the powerplant road.
County: Juab
Elevation: ~6000 feet
Distance to bird: 5-20 meters
Optical equipment: 10x42 Leica Bins
Weather: Light rain and cloudy
Light Conditions: diffuse flat light
Description:        Size of bird: Sayornis
(Description:)       Basic Shape: plump
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: grayish back, light belly and underparts, with dark head
(Description:)            Bill Type: flycatcher type
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
All the field marks shown below can be observed in accompanying photographs and movie.

-Dark eye with no eye-ring
-Blackish head (darkest on crown and forehead)
-Black legs
-White underparts from the throat to the undertail coverts w/yellow wash on the belly
-Grayish wash at sides of breast
-Bill was black, small, and pointed
-Back was mostly gray (w/some brown tones) contrasting with the dark tail and head
-Tail was long, notched at tip, black, and moved with downward circular motion (see attached video)
-Weak wing bars
-Primaries dark with thin white edging
-Secondaries dark with more noticeable white edging
(see Photos and Video)
Song or call & method of delivery: none heard
Behavior: foraging low in rabbitbrush; appeared 'puffed' possibly due to cooler temperatures (~45 F) and rain.
Habitat: Utah West Desert; mostly small juniper trees and hillsides with rabbitbrush and other desert shrubs.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Other Sayornis species: Black Phoebe has all black head, throat, and upper breast; Say's Phoebe has extensive rufous from belly to undertail coverts.

Western Peewee is smaller, more slender, has some yellow at base of lower mandible, and is darker from the throat to the lower belly.

Similar flycatchers are generally smaller, lack a dark head and tail, have stronger wing-bars, have eye-rings, all have some yellow in the bills, and habitually flick their tails.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Considerable experience for JJS
Life bird for HB
References consulted: Sibley
Description from: Notes made later
Observer: Jack Skalicky & Huyen Bui
Observer's address: PO BOX 58886 Salt Lake City, UT 84158-0886
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other Observers: HB found the bird and JJS helped to identify
Date prepared: November 10, 2012
Additional material: Photos and Video
Additional_Comments: Photographs and a video will be sent separately.