Phainopeplas are medium sized black birds with a prominent crest and blazing red eyes. They are in the order Passeriformes, family Ptilogonatidae (silky-flycatchers) containing the following four species:

Black-and-yellow Silky-flycatcher, Phainoptila melanoxantha
Gray Silky-flycatcher, Ptilogonys cinereus
Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher, Ptilogonys caudatus
Phainopepla, Phainopepla nitens

These species occur in Central America from Panama to Mexico with only one species, the Phainopepla, extending to southern U.S.