LEAST FLYCATCHER

LEAST FLYCATCHER(Empidonax minimus)
DESCRIPTION: The Least flycatcher upper parts and head are grey-olive green. There’s a white eye ring. The head is quite large relative to the body. The breast is light grey and the belly whitish. There are two white bars on the dark grey wings. The bill, legs and feet are also grey. Sexes are similar, and in juveniles the wing bars are more yellowish and less apparent. This is the smallest (as its name implies) flycatcher at around 12 cm (5 inches) long.
VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Empidonax-minimus – This bird is also called ‘chebec’ due to its main quick call (in French it’s written as ‘Tchébec’).
NAME: The English name ‘Flycatcher’ refers to the diet and feeding behavior of the bird. The Latin genus name ‘Empidonax’ means ‘gnat master’, and the Latin species name ‘minimus’ means ‘smallest’.
HABITAT: Woodlands, forest edges.
DIET: Various insects and arthropods, either caught on the fly or gleaned on leaves. Also feed on berries and seeds.
BREEDING/NESTING: Although small, least flycatchers will aggressively defend their territory against intruders. During breeding season they gather in ‘clusters’ of up to some 30 nests, and males and females will mate with more than one partner. These nest clusters offer more security from potential predators. The nest is built on a small tree or shrub, and around three to five creamy eggs are laid. Female incubates, both parents feed chicks.
DISTRIBUTION: Breeding range covers the mixed forest in Canada and the northern USA (except out west). During migration can be found across most of the USA east of the Rockies. For the winter, migrates to Mexico and the northern part of Central America.
ON PEI: Breeds on Prince Edward Island, occurrence varies from uncommon to common depending on the seasons.
CONSERVATION: The population of the least flycatcher has gone through a sharp decline over the last few decades, by some 50%. One possible explanation would be due to the creation of openings in its forested habitat by logging, which also allows more deer browsing.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Alder Flycatcher, Eastern Wood Pewee
REFERENCES: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Least_flycatcher
https://www.borealbirds.org/bird/least-flycatcher
https://www.mba-aom.ca/jsp/toc.jsp (Maritimes Breeding Bird Atlas)
https://www.ealt.ca/species-spotlight-list/least-flycatcher (Edmonton and Area Land Trust)
Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas (Least Flycatcher)
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Least_Flycatcher/id
https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/least-flycatcher
https://identify.whatbird.com/obj/681/_/Least_Flycatcher.aspx

Least Flycatcher - Aug. 6, 2016 - Chris Rice
Least Flycatcher – Aug. 6, 2016 – Chris Rice
Least Flycatcher juvenile - © Kathy McCormack - July 20, 2014
Least Flycatcher juvenile – © Kathy McCormack – July 20, 2014

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