The Olive-sided flycatcher is around 20 cm (7 in.) long. As its name implies, this bird has flanks that are streaked brown-olive, and those streaks join at the breast. The top parts are brown and the belly white. The bill and legs are grey, and the tail is short. It has a large head relative to its body size, and sometimes a crest is visible.

The Latin name ‘Contopus’ means short feet and ‘cooperi’ refers to James Cooper, an American ornithologist.

As is typical for a flycatcher, the olive-sided species hunts for insects by perching at the top of trees from which they have a vantage viewpoint. They then catch them on the fly, and return to their perch, where they stand in an upright position. They can be found in regenerated coniferous forests following cutting or burning, particularly in mountainous areas.

The Olive-sided flycatcher is breeding on PEI and is thought to be fairly common in the summer. Its overall breeding area covers the Canadian boreal forest, also Alaska and parts of western USA. It winters in the northwest region of South America.

Conservation: the olive-sided flycatcher has experienced a steady decline in its population over the last few decades. One factor would be habitat loss, both on its breeding and wintering grounds. It is therefore considered as threatened by COSEWIC.

Olive-sided Flycatcher - Sisters, Oregon - May 26, 2015 -Francesco Veronesi
Olive-sided Flycatcher – Sisters, Oregon – May 26, 2015 – Francesco Veronesi