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Eastern Phoebe or Least Flycatcher? No. Virginia, USA (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
United States
I can't decide if the bird in these photos--all the same individual--is an eastern phoebe, possibly immature, an eastern wood pewee, or a least flycatcher. Can anyone ID this bird and explain to me how you can tell? Thank you. I took the photo yesterday at a freshwater lake in northern Virginia. The bird was flitting around in the brush near the shoreline.


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Several ways to tell. One is the size of the bird, another is the somewhat elongated, downcurved, pointy beak. Perhaps most reliable for this photo is the yellowish eye color. One more that's usually obvious in the field, though not in these photos (your bird is fluffed up agains the cold) is large white patches on the wings (kind of rectangular when folded), on the sides of the tail (obvious in flight) and underneath the tail (just visible in your photos).
Jeez, really? I can't believe I missed that one. That explains the dark eye stripe. I guess they don't stand out as much when they keep their mouth shut.

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