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Abstract

The Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) is a common migrant that breeds in Canada and the USA and winters throughout the southeastern USA and northern Mexico. Apart from the Bahamas, few records for this species exist in the Caribbean region. Currently, a total of eight records are known from Cuba, occurring principally during late fall, after the passage of strong cold fronts, during severe winters throughout the species' core wintering range, or both. Resumen Estatus de Sayornis phoebe en Cuba-Sayornis phoebe es un migrante común que nidifica en Canadá y Estados Unidos e inverna a lo largo del sudeste de los Estados Unidos y el norte de México. Aparte de en las Bahamas, existen pocos registros de esta especie en la región del Caribe. Actualmente, se conocen un total de ocho registros en Cuba, principalmente a finales del otoño, luego del paso de los fuertes frentes fríos, durante los severos inviernos a todo lo largo del núcleo del rango invernal de esta especie o en ambos momentos. Palabras clave Cuba, Sayornis phoebe Résumé Le statut de la Moucherolle phébi (Sayornis phoebe) à Cuba-La Moucherolle phébi (Sayornis phoebe) est un migra-teur commun qui niche au Canada et aux États-Unis, et hiverne dans le sud-est des États-Unis et le nord du Mexique. Il existe peu de mentions de cette espèce dans la Caraïbe sauf aux Bahamas. Actuellement, l'espèce a été mentionnée huit fois à Cuba, principalement à la fin de l'automne après le passage de forts fronts froids ou lors d'hivers rigoureux dans les principales zones d'hivernage de l'espèce, ou au cours des deux périodes.
The Journal of
Caribbean Ornithology
Vol. 29:18–20. 2016
The status of the Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis
phoebe) in Cuba
Kenneth G.D. Burrell Lillian A. Knopf
RESEARCH NOTE
Photo: Mike V.A. Burrell
Abstract The Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) is a common migrant that breeds in Canada and the USA and winters through-
out the southeastern USA and northern Mexico. Apart from the Bahamas, few records for this species exist in the Caribbean
region. Currently, a total of eight records are known from Cuba, occurring principally during late fall, after the passage of strong
cold fronts, during severe winters throughout the species’ core wintering range, or both.
Keywords Cuba, Eastern Phoebe, Sayornis phoebe
Resumen Estatus de Sayornis phoebe en Cuba—Sayornis phoebe         
Unidos e inverna a lo largo del sudeste de los Estados Unidos y el norte de México. Aparte de en las Bahamas, existen pocos
registros de esta especie en la región del Caribe. Actualmente, se conocen un total de ocho registros en Cuba, principalmente

invernal de esta especie o en ambos momentos.
Palabras clave Cuba, Sayornis phoebe
Résumé Le statut de la Moucherolle phébi (Sayornis phoebe) à Cuba—La Moucherolle phébi (Sayornis phoebe) est un migra-
teur commun qui niche au Canada et aux États-Unis, et hiverne dans le sud-est des États-Unis et le nord du Mexique. Il existe
peu de mentions de cette espèce dans la Caraïbe sauf aux Bahamas. Actuellement, l’espèce a été mentionnée huit fois à Cuba,

d’hivernage de l’espèce, ou au cours des deux périodes.
Mots clés Cuba, Moucherolle phébi, Sayornis phoebe
The Journal of Caribbean Ornithology
www.birdscaribbean.org/jco ISSN 1544-4953
RESEARCH NOTE Vol. 29:18–20. 2016 www.birdscaribbean.org
The status of the Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) in Cuba
Kenneth G.D. Burrell1 and Lillian A. Knopf2
1Natural Resource Soluons Inc., 225 Labrador Drive, Waterloo, ON
N2K 4M8, Canada; e-mail: kenneth.gd.burrell@gmail.com. Full list of
author informaon is available at the end of the arcle.
The Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) is typically a long-dis-
tance migrant, with its breeding range occurring principally
in eastern Canada and the USA, extending north and west to
southern Yukon, Canada, and south and east to the southern
-
clair et al. 2003, Gobris 2010, Weeks 2011). The Eastern Phoebe’s
wintering range is also extensive, with birds overwintering north
to the edge of the frost line (i.e., Virginia and Delaware to Arkan-
et al. 1987) and as far south as the Yucatan and Ve-

most wintering individuals occur along the Gulf of Mexico and
throughout the entirety of Florida (Weeks 2011).
-
ever, it is one of the earliest migrant insectivores to arrive on its
breeding grounds in the spring, typically arriving in March and
April (Weeks 2011). Spring passage occurs predominantly as the
frost line and emergence of insects spread north (Weeks 2011).
Fall migration is relatively late, and follows the same principle as
spring migration: birds move south as the frost line appears and
as insect abundance declines, with peak movements occurring
  
range (Weeks 2011).
Apart from the Bahamas, few records exist for Eastern Phoe-
be in the Caribbean region (Garrido and Kirkconnell 2000, Arlott
2010, eBird 2016). We observed an individual Eastern Phoebe
 -
 
(Table 1). Five observations are described in Garrido and Kirkcon-
nell (2000), with records dating from the 19th century to 1960.
-


et al. 2010, Good 2012). Aside
from these Cuban records, there is also a single eBird record noted
from the Cayman Islands on 1 and 3 October 2010 (Davey 2010).
       -
-
tent with the authors’ experience of the species on its breeding

garden plot, along a narrow beach ridge > 100 m from shore.
© 2016 Burrell and Knopf; licensee BirdsCaribbean. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://
creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Sayornis phoebe Status in Cuba
Burrell and Knopf 2016. Vol. 29:18–20
The Journal of Caribbean Ornithology Page 19
The bird was noted from the same location on both observation
dates and during both observations was noted to consistently
perch, low to the ground, along the lee side of the vegetation,

Based on documented records of Eastern Phoebe in Cuba,
birds appear to have occurred during fall migration, after the
passage of strong cold fronts associated with strong northerly
         
        
when the frost line is farther south than is typical.
Whereas Eastern Phoebe appears to be an uncommon winter-
  

Cuba (either from Mexico or the USA) is likely the deciding factor
in why so few records exist of this otherwise common species.
It is an exceptional vagrant in Cuba (and much of the Caribbean
     -
currence of severe winters throughout its core wintering range
or exceptional cold fronts (with strong north winds) during fall
migration, or both, may provide increased opportunities for this
species to reach Cuba.
Acknowledgments
We thank A. Kirkconnell, A. Kirkconnell, Jr., James W. Wiley,
and M. Good for providing feedback on previous records of East-
ern Phoebe in Cuba. We thank M. Good for graciously providing
Fig. 1. Jason Townsend and James W. Wiley provided valuable
input through review of an earlier draft.
Author Information

kenneth.gd.burrell@gmail.com
Department of Biology, University of Waterloo, 200 University
laknopf@
uwaterloo.ca
Fig. 1.
      
© Michael J. Good.
Table 1. All known and documented records of Eastern Phoebe in Cuba. Records were gathered through Garrido and Kirkconnell
(2000), Arlott (2010), eBird (2016), and personal communication (see Acknowledgments).
Date Location Observers Source
 a


Garrido and

 




Garrido and

 


b
Garrido and

 a Garrido and

Undated a Garrido and

 


J. Sebastiani et al. Sebastiani et al.

c


M. Good et al. 
 

K. Burrell, L. Knopf pers. obs.
a
b
cDenotes two birds present at the same location.
Sayornis phoebe Status in Cuba
Burrell and Knopf 2016. Vol. 29:18–20
The Journal of Caribbean Ornithology Page 20
Cite this arcle as:
Burrell, K.G.D., and L.A. Knopf. 2016. The status of the Eastern
Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) in Cuba. Journal of Caribbean
Ornithology 29:18–20.
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
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