English and Scientific names:

Western Wood-Pewee (Contopus sordidulus)

Number of individuals: 

1 adult

Locality: LOUISIANA: 


Specific Locality:

Hwy. 82; ~ 4 miles west of Garner's Ridge

Date(s) when observed:

November 6, 2004

Time(s) of day when observed:  

1:30-2:00 p.m.

Reporting observer and address:

Phillip Wallace

New Orleans, LA 70125

Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s):

David Muth (discovered the bird), Paul Conover, Mac Myers, Dan Purrington, Curt Sorrells

Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light):

Excellent; Looking north; sun behind observers.

Optical equipment: 

Zeiss 10x40 binoculars

Distance to bird(s): 

20 yards

Duration of observation:

30 minutes


Hackberry scrub and roseau cane at edge of a borrow canal; at edge of a vast marsh.

Behavior of bird: 

Perching; flycatching; returning to same perch in typical flycatcher fashion.


Very dark brown pewee without a hint of olive in the plumage. The lower mandible was dark on the distal half and yellow on the proximal half. The bird had two off-white wingbars. The undertail coverts were relatively dark. The nape was concolor with the head and back. The breast patches were very dark. There was a relatively narrow whitish-gray streak down the middle of the dark breast patch.



Similar species:

Western and Eastern Wood-Pewees are very difficult to identify with certainty on plumage characteristics alone. The extremely dark plumage of this bird with brown tones, especially the dark nape, indicates Western.

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?

Stills captured from video accompany this report.

Specimen was submitted to LSUMNS.

Previous experience with this species: 

I've had extensive experience with Western Wood-Pewee, as recently as this past summer in Oregon.

Identification aids:

After observation: Sibley, Pyle, and Kaufman's "Advanced Birding"

This description is written from: 

Description taken from notes written on the evening of the observation and from the videotape.

Are you positive of your identification? If not, explain: 



I hestitate to be positive about the identification of wood-pewees in the absence of vocalizations, but I suspect that when the experts at the LSUMNS examine the specimen, they will agree that it must be a Western.


Phillip Wallace

Date and time: 

December 14, 2004; 9:15 p.m.