Smaller than a Cardinal and larger than a sparrow. Length: 7.1-8.3 in (18-21 cm) 

The Phainopepla is a bird only found in the Southwest. Males (top photo) are silky black and slender, with an elegant crest, bright red-orange eyes and bold white wing patches that can be seen when the bird is flying. Females (bottom photo) are similar but gray rather than black. They eat mainly mistletoe berries and are blamed for the spread of the parasite mistletoe. They often perch high in shrubs and make swooping flights to catch insects.

The top photograph was used in the Tucson Audubon Fall 2021 magazine.

More Phainopeplas