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Help develop a Bird ID tool!

Least Flycatcher

Empidonax minimus ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: TYRANNIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A small drab flycatcher of open woods, the Least Flycatcher is one of the smallest and most common flycatchers in North America.

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Appearance

Flycatchers
Flycatchers
Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Small flycatcher.
  • Prominent eyering.
  • Two white wingbars.
  • Back brownish-olive to gray.
  • Underparts whitish.

Immature Description

Immatures slightly browner above, slightly yellower below, and wingbars more buffy.

Range Map Help

Least Flycatcher Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

Field MarksHelp

  • Adult

    Least Flycatcher

    Adult
    • Small flycatcher
    • Bold white eye-ring
    • Double white wing-bars
    • Mostly slaty gray above, whitish below
    • © Stephen Ramirez, Spring Lake, Texas, September 2011
  • Adult

    Least Flycatcher

    Adult
    • Small, compact gray flycatcher
    • Rounded head
    • White eye-ring
    • Double white wing-bars
    • © Guy Lichter, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, May 2012
  • Juvenile

    Least Flycatcher

    Juvenile
    • Small, round-headed flycatcher
    • Eye-ring less distinct on some individuals, but always present
    • Dull slaty gray above, whitish below
    • Juveniles show darker, tawnier wing-bars than adults
    • © Cameron Rognan, Sapsucker Woods, Ithaca, New York, August 2008
  • Juvenile

    Least Flycatcher

    Juvenile
    • Small, dull-colored flycatcher
    • Compact structure, with short wings and narrow tail
    • White eye-ring
    • Juvenile similar to adult but with more tawny/olive wing-bars
    • © Cameron Rognan, Sapsucker Woods, Ithaca, New York, August 2008
  • Adult

    Least Flycatcher

    Adult
    • Small, round-headed flycatcher
    • White eye-ring
    • Very short wings with bright white wing-bars
    • Dull slaty gray above, whitish below
    • © Andy Jordan, Decker Prairie, Texas, August 2011

Similar Species

  • Adult

    Willow Flycatcher

    Adult
    • Larger and more elongated than Least Flycatcher
    • Longer, broader bill
    • Little or no eye-ring
    • Crown peaks at rear
    • © Kelly Azar, June 2010
  • Adult

    Alder Flycatcher

    Adult
    • Larger than Least Flycatcher with longer, thicker bill
    • More olive above and buffier below
    • Little or no eye-ring
    • Crown peaked at rear
    • © Bill Thompson, Anchorage South, Alaska, August 2010
  • Adult

    Acadian Flycatcher

    Adult
    • Larger and longer-winged than Least Flycatcher
    • Broader bill with orange/yellow base
    • Darker and greener overall
    • Crown peaked at rear
    • © Ed Schneider, White's Creek, Tennessee, June 2009
  • Adult

    Eastern Wood-Pewee

    Adult
    • Larger and more slender than Least Flycatcher
    • Longer wings reach nearly halfway down tail
    • Darker face with no eye-ring
    • Peaked crown
    • © Kelly Colgan Azar, Pennsylvania, June 2011

Similar Species

  • Difficult to distinguish from other members of its genus. Least is the grayest of the eastern Empidonax. Call is best character.