The Eastern Wood Pewee (Contopus virens) and the Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) are two species of flycatchers that are easily confused. Both birds share a similar body shape and coloring, and they can be found in the same habitats. Although they are similar in many ways, there are several differences between the two species. This article will examine the differences between the Eastern Wood Pewee and the Eastern Phoebe so that birders can easily identify them in the field.
Differences in Appearance
The Eastern Wood Pewee and the Eastern Phoebe are both small, chunky birds with grey-brown backs and whitish underparts. However, there are several subtle differences in their appearance that can be used to tell them apart. The Eastern Wood Pewee has a yellowish-olive wash on the upperparts and two wingbars on the wings. The Eastern Phoebe has darker upperparts with no wash and only one wingbar. The Eastern Wood Pewee also has a longer, slimmer bill than the Eastern Phoebe.
Differences in Behavior
The Eastern Wood Pewee and the Eastern Phoebe have different behaviors that can help birders identify them in the field. The Eastern Wood Pewee is an aerial forager, meaning it catches its prey while flying. It is often seen perching on exposed branches and then flying out to catch insects in mid-air. The Eastern Phoebe is a perch-and-wait forager, meaning it perches on a branch and waits for prey to come to it. It is often seen hovering over water or flying up to catch insects from the ground.
Differences in Habitat
The Eastern Wood Pewee and the Eastern Phoebe can both be found in the same habitats, such as open woodlands, forest edges, and suburban areas. However, the Eastern Wood Pewee prefers more open habitats, such as fields, pastures, and open woodlands. The Eastern Phoebe prefers more closed-in habitats, such as thickets, forest edges, and streamsides.
Differences in Voice
The best way to tell the difference between the Eastern Wood Pewee and the Eastern Phoebe is by their voices. The Eastern Wood Pewee has a loud, whistle-like call that sounds like “pee-ah-wee”. The Eastern Phoebe has a sharp, nasal “phoe-be” call that is often repeated.
The Eastern Wood Pewee and the Eastern Phoebe are two easily confused species of flycatchers. Although they are similar in many ways, there are several subtle differences that can be used to tell them apart. By examining the differences in their appearance, behavior, habitat, and voice, birders can easily identify the Eastern Wood Pewee and the Eastern Phoebe in the field.
What are the Scientific Names for Eastern Wood Pewee and Eastern Phoebe?
Answer: The scientific name for Eastern Wood Pewee is Contopus virens and the scientific name for Eastern Phoebe is Sayornis phoebe.
Where Can Eastern Wood Pewee and Eastern Phoebe Be Found?
Answer: Eastern Wood Pewee can be found across much of the eastern and central United States, while Eastern Phoebe can be found primarily in the east and southeast United States.
What Are the Physical Differences Between Eastern Wood Pewee and Eastern Phoebe?
Answer: Eastern Wood Pewee are typically slimmer and have a longer tail than Eastern Phoebe. Eastern Phoebe have a more rounded body and a shorter tail than Eastern Wood Pewee.
What Kind of Habitat Does Each Bird Prefer?
Answer: Eastern Wood Pewee prefer wooded areas such as forests, woodlots, and wooded parks, while Eastern Phoebe prefer open habitats such as grasslands, fields, and marshes.
What Is the Diet of Each Bird?
Answer: Eastern Wood Pewee primarily eat insects, while Eastern Phoebe eat insects, fruit, and sometimes small animals.
What Kind of Nest Does Each Bird Build?
Answer: Eastern Wood Pewee build cup-shaped nests made of grass and twigs, while Eastern Phoebe build cup-shaped nests made of mud, grass, and other materials.
What Is the Mating Habits of Each Bird?
Answer: Eastern Wood Pewee mate monogamously, while Eastern Phoebe usually mate with multiple partners.
What Sounds Does Each Bird Make?
Answer: Eastern Wood Pewee make a high-pitched “pee-a-wee” call, while Eastern Phoebe make a loud “phoe-bee” call.
What Is the Average Lifespan of Each Bird?
Answer: The average lifespan of Eastern Wood Pewee is 3 to 5 years, while the average lifespan of Eastern Phoebe is 5 to 7 years.