Skip to main content

Least Flycatcher

ID Info
  • Least Flycatcher
  • Least Flycatcher
  • Least Flycatcher  video
Silhouette FlycatchersFlycatchers
Least FlycatcherEmpidonax minimus
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Tyrannidae

Basic Description

Least Flycatchers are one of the grayish olive flycatchers in the often confusing Empidonax group, but they're one of the easier ones to identify. Their small size, bold white eyering, and distinctive chebec song set them apart. During the summer, they congregate in clusters in deciduous forests and sing incessantly. They may be little, but they don't let other birds push them around, sometimes chasing species as large as Blue Jays. Though they are common, they lost more than half of their population since 1970.

More ID Info
image of range map for Least Flycatcher
Range map provided by Birds of the World
Explore Maps

Find This Bird

Least Flycatchers make their presence known with their incessant chebecs during the breeding season. To find them, take a walk in a deciduous forest in the northern U.S. and Canada, and listen for their very short 2-note song. Don't be alarmed if you don't hear them right away; they nest in clusters so there might be stretches of forest without any Least Flycatchers. But once you come across a cluster, there will likely be several about. They generally catch insects from branches in the middle to upper levels of the forest and frequently change perches, so look up for quick movements. On migration, these flycatchers may be silent and hard to tell from other Empidonax—look for their small size and bold eyering.

Other Names

  • Mosquero Mínimo (Spanish)
  • Moucherolle tchébec (French)

Backyard Tips

Least Flycatchers aren't your typical backyard breeder, but they may stop by your yard during migration. For a starter list of bird-friendly native plants for your yard, read this article from All About Birds.

  • Cool Facts