Tyrant Flycatchers


South-west Willow FlycatcherThe Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii) is a small insect-eating bird of the tyrant flycatcher family.

Adults have brown-olive upperparts, darker on the wings and tail, with whitish underparts; they have an indistinct white eye ring, white wing bars and a small bill. The breast is washed with olive-grey. The upper part of the bill is grey; the lower part is orangish. At one time, this bird and the Alder Flycatcher were considered to be a single species, Traill’s Flycatcher.

Their breeding habitat is deciduous thickets, especially willows and often near water, across the United States and southern Canada. They make a cup nest in a vertical fork in a shrub or tree.

These birds migrate to Mexico and Central America, often selecting winter habitat near water.

They wait on a perch near the top of a shrub and fly out to catch insects in flight, also sometimes picking insects from foliage while hovering. They may eat some berries.

This bird’s song is a sneezed fitz-bew. The call is a dry whit.

This bird competes for habitat with the Alder Flycatcher where their ranges overlap. The southwestern subspecies of this bird, (E. t. extimus) is declining due to habitat loss and is considered to be endangered.

The binomial commemorates the Scottish zoologist Thomas Stewart Traill.


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