|Conservation status||Numbers in the United States apparently stable.|
|Habitat||Pine and pine-oak forests of mountains, canyons. Breeds in relatively open forest with tall pines and scattered understory (often of oaks). Also in sycamores and other trees along canyons through pine-oak woods. The few that winter in the United States are in groves or woodlots in the lowlands.|
Forages mostly by watching from a perch within a tree, especially an open tree such as a pine, choosing perches at most levels but usually fairly high. Flies out to capture flying insects in mid-air. Apparently has very good eyesight, sometimes flying out after insects up to 50' away from its perch.
3-4. Dull white to creamy-white, lightly marked with brown and gray, mostly near larger end. Details of incubation not well known. Young: Probably fed by both parents. Age of young at first flight not well known.
Probably fed by both parents. Age of young at first flight not well known.
Insects. Diet is not known in detail, undoubtedly includes a wide variety of flying insects.
Breeding behavior is not well known. Both members of pair are quick to attack jays or other potential nest predators that come near nest tree. Some observers have reported that smaller birds (such as warblers and vireos) prefer to nest near the Greater Pewee to gain protection from predators. Nest site is at fork in horizontal branch of pine, sycamore, oak, or other tall tree, usually 10-40' above the ground. Nest (probably built by female) is a well-built cup of grass, weeds, leaves, and other plant fibers, often held to the branch with spiderwebs. Inside of nest is lined with fine grasses, and outside is camouflaged with lichens. From the ground, nest may look like a lichen-covered bump on the branch.
Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Probably only a short-distance migrant; present all year in most of Mexican range. One or two individuals often remain through winter in Arizona and sometimes in southern California.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
See a fully interactive migration map for this species on the Bird Migration Explorer.Learn more
Songs and CallsSong is a plaintive Jo-se-Ma-ri-a. Call note a repeated pwit.
Learn more about this sound collection.