Phainopeplas (Phainopepla nitens) are common birds here in Tucson, but they are mostly found in areas with some natural, desert vegetation. Males Phainopeplas are a shiny black, while the females, such as the one pictured below, are a dark, charcoal gray.
The berries of Mesquite Mistletoe (Phoradendron californicum) are one of the most important food sources for these desert birds. Mesquite Mistletoe mainly parasitizes mesquite and paloverde trees, and it depends on Phainopeplas to help "plant" its seeds. Phainopeplas have sticky droppings full of mistletoe seeds, and if one of these droppings lands on a branch of the right kind of tree, the mistletoe seeds will sprout and then tap into the tree's nutrients and moisture.
Phainopeplas have distinctive vocalizations, and they can be easily located by sound because of their habit of calling from exposed perches.