There are nearly 30 species of this agile, flying insect eater. We are going to highlight only the phoebe because most flycatchers do not frequent home landscapes, in the suburbs and in towns.
The flycatcher family includes kingbirds, phoebes and pewees. The phoebes are smaller than the kingbirds but larger than the peewees. Flycatchers subsist extensively on flies and on other winged insects. These birds help to control some of the pest insects of rural areas, farms and forests.
These birds eject small pellets of indigestible food from their mouths like owls. They remain on their perch until they spy an insect, then dart out, catch the insect on the wing, and return to the perch to dine. All phoebes bob their tails up and down and briefly spread them open after landing on a perch. All of the flycatchers, kingbirds, peewees and phoebes migrate. Most of the New World flycatchers winter in Central America and northern South America and nest in the United States during the summer.
Eastern Phoebe - The eastern phoebe is seven inches long. The feathers are a brown-gray back and tail, dark head, gray-white throat and breast, and very, pale-yellow belly. The bill on the eastern phoebe is all black. It does not have an eye-ring and lacks strong white wing bars. The eastern’s range is from the middle of the country to the east coast. Eastern phoebes repeat their name again and again: FEE-bee or fee-BEE.