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Western Flycatcher

ID Info
  • Western Flycatcher
  • Western Flycatcher
  • Western Flycatcher  video
Silhouette FlycatchersFlycatchers
Western FlycatcherEmpidonax difficilis
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Tyrannidae

Basic Description

An attractive small flycatcher that looks like several other attractive small flycatchers in the genus Empidonax, the Western Flycatcher breeds in shaded forests of the Rocky Mountains and Pacific Coast mountain ranges. This petite olive-and-yellow species often inhabits canyons or ravines with flowing water, where there are gaps in the canopy. Here, the species forages mostly by flying out to capture passing insects. In 2023, ornithologists lumped Pacific-slope and Cordilleran Flycatchers together as Western Flycatcher after treating them as separate species since 1989.

More ID Info
image of range map for Western Flycatcher
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

As with many Empidonax flycatchers, voice is the best way to find and identify Western Flycatchers. Listen for the male’s sharp song and call note, given frequently during the first few weeks of nesting. During the breeding season, and also during migration in April and September, a streamside hike through a wooded canyon has a good chance of turning up a Western Flycatcher. Concentrate especially on spots where bug-filled gaps in the forest canopy make for good flycatching.

Other Names

  • Mosquero del Pacífico (Spanish)
  • Moucherolle obscur (French)
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