|Phainopepla (Phainopepla nitens)|
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 is 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?"