Alder Flycatcher Life History


Habitat ScrubBreeds in wet thickets, especially of alder, maple, and birch. Winters in early successional scrubby growth.Back to top


Food InsectsMostly insects, some fruit in winter.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Shrub

Nest Description

A coarse, loose cup with material hanging off it, usually placed low in bushes.

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size:3-4 eggs
Number of Broods:1 brood
Egg Length:0.7-0.8 in (1.8-2 cm)
Egg Width:0.5-0.6 in (1.3-1.5 cm)
Incubation Period:11-14 days
Egg Description:Creamy white or buff, unmarked or dotted with dark irregular markings around large end.
Condition at Hatching:Helpless and with only small patches of olive-brown down.
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Behavior FlycatchingInsects caught in the air or gleaned from foliage of trees and shrubs.Back to top


Conservation Low ConcernAlder Flycatcher numbers are stable in the U.S. but declined by about 44% in Canada between 1966 and 2014, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 130 million with 24% breeding in the U.S., 76% breeding in Canada, and all of them migrating through Mexico to their wintering grounds in South America. They rate a 7 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score and are not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List, although they are a U.S.-Canada Stewardship species.Back to top


Lowther, Peter E. (1999). Alder Flycatcher (Empidonax alnorum), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

Lutmerding, J. A. and A. S. Love. Longevity records of North American birds. Version 2015.2. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2015.

North American Bird Conservation Initiative. (2014). The State of the Birds 2014 Report. US Department of Interior, Washington, DC, USA.

Partners in Flight (2017). Avian Conservation Assessment Database. 2017.

Sauer, J. R., J. E. Hines, J. E. Fallon, K. L. Pardieck, Jr. Ziolkowski, D. J. and W. A. Link. The North American Breeding Bird Survey, results and analysis 1966-2013 (Version 1.30.15). USGS Patuxtent Wildlife Research Center (2014b). Available from

Sibley, D. A. (2014). The Sibley Guide to Birds, second edition. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, USA.

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