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Phainopepla (Phainopepla nitens)
phainopepla

DESCRIPTION: L=7.75" (20cm). Sexes different. Both sexes have distinct crest, long tail, white wing patches, and red eyes, but male is shiny black whereas female is grayish brown.
CALL: a "wurp".
NATURAL HISTORY: Phainopeplas have a very close relationship with mistletoe, eating and dispersing their seeds and even nesting in it. When you see mistletoe in a tree, remember how it likely got there (as a seed in a phainopepla dropping). In addition to mistletoe berries, Phainopeplas also eat other berries, and insects. If you are wondering why a desert bird is black see "How can black be an adaptation to the desert?"
IMAGES: female
male with prey male female with mistletoe in her feces