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Phainopepla        Images © Mark A. Chappell

The phainopepla is an unusual fruit-eating bird of the southwest, where it lives in deserts and chaparral habitats.   A member of the silky flycatcher family, it's easily identified by flashy white wing patches, a distinctive whistled call, a short floppy crest and in males (as shown at right and at the bottom of the page), glossy black plumage setting off the bright red eyes.   Females (upper left) are a more subdued gray-brown.  These birds were photographed in Joshua Tree National Park in the California desert and in southeastern Arizona.

  • Canon 10D or 1D4 or 7DII; 500 mm IS lens plus 1.4X or 2X converter or 800 mm IS lens plus 1.4X converter, fill-in flash (2004, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2013, 2014)