Description: The male is shiny black; when in flight a white wing patch is very conspicuous. Both sexes have distinct crest, long tail and red eyes. Juvenile resembles adult female; both have gray wing patches.
Habitat: Desert scrub, semiarid and riparian woodland.
Diet: Especially mistletoe berries in deserts. The young are fed insects for two to three days, then also fruit.
Displays: In courtship, male rises 300 feet, circles or zigzags above territories. Chases and courtship feeding also
Nest: Compact, shallow construction of twigs, flowers, plant down, leaves. Bound with spider silk, lined with hair and/or down.
Eggs: Grayish, dotted with violet to black specks.
Natural history notes: Phainopepla is both the scientific and common name of our representative of the family of silky flycatchers. They nest in early spring in mesquite brushlands, then in late spring move into cooler, wetter habitat and raise a second brood. They rarely land on the ground. Their distinctive call note is a querulous, low-pitched, whistled wurp ? Song is a brief warble, seldom heard. Distinctive flight is fluttery but direct and often very high.