Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # O2005-01

Common name:

Black Phoebe

Scientific name: Sayornis nigricans
Date: April 2, 2005
Time: 9:15 am
Length of time observed: 20 seconds
Number: 1
Age: presumed adult
Sex: ?
Location: Sevier River near Fayette, Utah
County: Sanpete
Distance to bird: 30 feet
Optical equipment: Nikon Venturer 8x32
Weather: clear calm
Light Conditions: excellent, the bird was front-lit with the morning sun
Detailed description of bird: Size of Bird: smaller than a Robin, larger than a house finch
Basic Shape: slender bird, with a longish tail, typical flycatcher shape
Overall Pattern: black back and chest with a white belly
Bill Type: medium sized for a passerine, flatish on top and bottom, triangular on the sides, came to a sharp point on the end

Bird Description: The bird was a typical black phoebe, blackish above and on the chest with a white belly. I didn't see any wing bars or any other distinguishing characteristics on the sides or back of the bird.
Song or call & method of delivery: none
Behavior: It sat on a tamarisk or willow over the water for a moment, wagged it's tail up and down, and then sallied out for an insect. It then flew away and down river.
Habitat: Willow or tamarisk lined, slow-moving river. It sat only a few feet above the water
Similar species and
how were they eliminated:
Say's Phoebe was eliminated because of lack of any reddish or orangish tones. Eastern Phoebe was eliminated because of the strong black and white pattern and the black coming down into the chest. Eastern phoebe would have no black. a Slate-colored Junco was eliminated by the length of the bird, it's behavior, more slender shape, it's dark, non-conical bill etc..
Previous experience with this & similar species: I have seen several dozen black phoebes on numerous occasions in southern utah and arizona
References consulted: Sibley guide to birds and National geographic guide
Description from: From memory
Observer: Darren Clark
Observer's address: 114 Elm Avenue, Rexburg, ID 83440
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified
this bird:
Date prepared: April 7, 2005    (General Public)
Additional material:  
Additional comments: Though a common bird in extreme southwestern utah, this bird was north of its normal range.