The Western Wood-Pewee is a very plain gray bird with few
distinguishing marks, and is often only safely identified from similar
Flycatchers by it's voice and range. The eastern equivalent, the Eastern
Wood-Pewee, looks almost exactly alike. While they do overlap in range
in a narrow band in the center of the country, it has never been shown that the
two species interbreed with each other. They are normally only found in
the western part of South Dakota.
be found in a wide variety of open wooded habitats during the summer breeding
season, especially cottonwood riparian areas along rivers and streams, groves of
aspen and willow, and pine-oak woodlands. Spends the winter months along
forest edges and in second-growth forest in the tropics.
Diet: Feeds almost exclusively on insects, especially flying
insects. Will also occasionally eat berries.
Behavior: Does most foraging by flycatching, sitting on a perch and flying out to catch flying insects.
Does most of its singing at dawn and at dusk.
Nesting: June and July
Song: Soft peeer
whistle given year round. Alternates clear notes with a descending bzeeyeeer
on summer breeding grounds.
Migration: Summers throughout the western half of North America, up through southwest
Alaska. Winters in South America.
Conservation Status: Still common in many locations, but has
shown local declines in California and elsewhere.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology - Western Wood-pewee
Photo Information: July 23rd, 2011 - North Cave
Hills, Harding County, South Dakota - Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Western Wood-pewee photos.