Yellow-bellied Flycatcher Life History


Habitat Forests

  • Breeds in boreal coniferous forests and peatlands. Nests in cool, moist forests, bogs, swamps, and muskegs.
  • Winters in variety of habitats from forests to semi-open habitats. Most common in dense rain forest, montane evergreen forest, pine-oak forest, and shaded coffee plantations.
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Food InsectsInsects and arthropods. Occasionally takes fruit.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Ground

Nest Description

Nest built on or near ground, well covered with hanging vegetation. Nest made mostly of moss, lined with rootlets, pine needles, or grass stems.

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size:2-5 eggs
Egg Description:White with light speckling of fine dots and small blotches of brown around larger end.
Condition at Hatching:Hatch naked and helpless.
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Behavior FlycatchingFlight song given at predawn or dusk.Catches flying insects in mid-air, or gleans them from foliage.Back to top


Conservation Low ConcernYellow-bellied Flycatcher numbers are stable and increased between 1966 and 2014, according tot he North American breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 12 million with 3% spending some part of the year in the U.S., 45% in Mexico, and 97% breeding in Canada. They are a U.S.-Canada Stewardship species and rate a 9 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. They are not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List. Most of this flycatcher's breeding range in Canada is remote and secure. However, on the wintering grounds it is vulnerable to forest destruction. Shade-grown coffee plantations have higher densities of Yellow-bellied Flycatchers than sun-grown coffee plantations.Back to top


Gross, Douglas A. and Peter E. Lowther. 2011. Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (Empidonax flaviventris), 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, David Allen. 2014. The Sibley guide to birds, second edition. Alfred A Knopf, New York.

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