While we were walking the dogs this morning, Verna spotted this Phainopepla perched atop a dead mesquite branch near the road. She did not have her camera at the time and all I had was my little Canon pocket Elph 140. Regardless, I got a fair photo of the little guy watching us.
The phainopepla or northern phainopepla (Phainopepla nitens) is the most northerly representative of the mainly tropical Central American family Ptiliogonatidae, the silky flycatchers. Its name is from the Greek phain pepla meaning “shining robe” in reference to the male’s plumage.
The phainopepla is a striking bird, 16–20 cm (6.3–7.9 in) long with a noticeable crest and a long tail; it is slender, and has an upright posture when it perches. Its bill is short and slender. The male is glossy black, and has a white wing patch that is visible when it flies; the female is plain gray and has a lighter gray wing patch. Both sexes have red eyes, but these are more noticeable in the female than the male.