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Phainopepla

I’ve been saving this Arizona bird because he’s gorgeous. Even the female Phainopepla is pretty! Look at her red eye.

They reaaaly like berries.  So much so, in fact, that they will eat 1,100 mistletoe berries in one day.  The first place we saw these guys was at Patagonia Lake.  The males are everywhere.  They have the same red eyes, but their feathers are black.

The males also have white spots on their wing feathers, which they use in a mating display.  Specifically, they jump off a branch and make circles in the air to emphasize the white spots.  Jon spent thirty minutes taking these pictures.  They move really quickly so these pictures are quite the testament to Jon’s photography skills.  I lost interest and went looking for warblers.

photo by Jon

photo by Jon

Am I supposed to be impressed?

They seem like grey cardinals to me, although they’re in a different family.

2 Responses to “Phainopepla”

  1. Tiffany says:

    It is so strange (to me) that you posted about this bird on Sunday. We went hiking in Mission Trails Park and I saw a bird in a tree and couldn’t figure out what it was. “He” then flew over me and I saw black wings with white spots. Then I took a few photos of it – he had a “wedge” head. We have never seen this bird before, so went home and looked in the guide – a male Phainopepla. Then I check out your blog and viola – love this post! We regularly go to this park and have never seen this this species!!

    Also, we found a hawks nest nestled extremely discretely into some rock cliffs – baby had already fledged, but will be back early next year.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I have a sense about these things. 😉