- ORDER: Passeriformes
- FAMILY: Tyrannidae
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
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.
- Mosquero del Pacífico (Spanish)
- Moucherolle obscur (French)
- Cool Facts
- The population of Western Flycatchers breeding on the Channel Islands off southern California may actually be a distinct species. Channel Island birds are larger than mainland birds, have a longer bill, a paler chest, slightly different vocalizations, and differ genetically.
- The oldest Western Flycatcher on record was one banded in California as a hatch-year bird in 1992 that was recovered in Oregon in 1999, when it was about 6 years, 11 months old.