Eastern Phoebe

About the Eastern Phoebe
Also known as: Water Pewee
Eastern Phoebe
The Eastern Phoebe is a species of flycatcher native to eastern parts of North America. They have grey-brown upperparts and buffy underparts that sometimes show a yellow tint. They have dark eyes and they have a big-headed appearance (making them extremely suitable as a Birdorable bird!). Eastern Phoebes are known for pumping their tails while perched.

Eastern Phoebes are migratory, spending the winter as far south as Central America and breeding as far north as Canada's Northwest Territories.

Unsurprisingly for this flycatcher species, the diet of the Eastern Phoebe is primarily flying insects. There are two other species of phoebe, Say's and Black, both with ranges further to the west. The name phoebe comes from their song, which sounds like "fee-bee".
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Details & Statistics


The Eastern Phoebe is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List and was last assessed in 2012 by BirdLife International. This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

International Names

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2015 Bonanza Bird #9: Eastern Phoebe

Today our Birdorable Bonanza: 2015 Advent Edition continues with a New World species of tyrant flycatcher: the Eastern Phoebe! Eastern Phoebes are tyrant flycatchers that are found in eastern North America. These cuties are migratory, breeding as far north as the Northern...  Read more »