The phainopepla has a number of interesting characteristics.
Its preferred food source is the mistletoe berry which it can eat over 1000/day. It is the only bird known to have a specialized gizzard which removes the skins from berries for more efficient digestion. Rarely drinking water and losing 95% of its body mass in water per day, it obtains the water it needs from the berries it eats.
They are also known to immitate the calls of other birds when stressed. Thirteen different spicies are known to be mimicked including the red-tailed hawk and northern flicker.
Phainopepla breed in two distinct habitats at two different times of year and exibit different behaviors in each habitat. When breeding in the desert, the pairs are territorial and protect their feeding territories, whereas breeding in the woodlands they form loose colonies.
Bird PhotographyBirdsDesert National Wildlife RefugeFaunaNWRNational Wildlife RefugeNatureNature PhotographyNevadaNorth AmericaNorthern PhainopeplaPasseriformsPasserinesPhainopeplaPhainopepla nitensPhotographyRay Manning PhotographyUSAWildlifeWildlife PhotographyWildlife Refuge