Male. Note: ragged crest and short bill.
  • Male
  • Male. Note: ragged crest and short bill.
  • Female. Note: white edges on wing feathers.

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Phainopepla nitens
Members of this diverse group make up more than half of the bird species worldwide. Most are small. However their brains are relatively large and their learning abilities are greater than those of most other birds. Passerine birds are divided into two suborders, the suboscines and the oscines. Oscines are capable of more complex song, and are considered the true songbirds. In Washington, the tyrant flycatchers are the only suboscines; the remaining 27 families are oscines.
Native to the Americas, the silky-flycatchers are medium-sized songbirds with soft, silky plumage and long, slender tails. They often have conspicuous bristles around the base of their short, broad bills. Most are dark-colored, and most have crests. They typically inhabit tropical and subtropical environments, and only one species is regularly found north of Mexico. They are fairly social and may nest in loose colonies. Small flocks form in the non-breeding season and wander in search of food. Silky-flycatchers eat many insects, but fruit, especially berries, is their main staple. They are typically monogamous, and both sexes help raise the young.

    General Description

    One September record, from Seattle (King County).

    North American Range Map

    North America map legend

    Federal Endangered Species ListAudubon/American Bird Conservancy Watch ListState Endangered Species ListAudubon Washington Vulnerable Birds List

    View full list of Washington State's Species of Special Concern