WILLOW FLYCATCHER

WILLOW FLYCATCHER (Empidonax traillii) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Willow Flycatcher has olive-brown upper parts and creamy under parts. Breast has faint grey streaks. Wings have two beige bands. Bill is grey on top, yellow-orange under. Legs and feet are grey. Head is relatively large for body size. Sexes are similar. Bird length is around 15 cm (6 inches). There are four subspecies.
VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Empidonax-traillii
NAME: NameFlycatcher’ relates to bird’s diet and the way it catches insects. ‘Willow’ refers to bird’s habitat. Latin genus name ‘Empidonax’ means ‘king of the gnats’. Latin species name ‘traillii was given in honor of Scottish zoologist Thomas Stewart Traill.
HABITAT: Willow thickets.
DIET: Perches upright on top of trees and catches insects on the fly. Also forages in foliage and on the ground. Feeds on berries when available.
NESTING: Nest is a cup-shaped structure in a tree. Around four creamy eggs are laid, incubated by the female. Chicks fed by both parents.
DISTRIBUTION: Breeds in southwest Canada and most of the USA except the southeast. Winters along the west coast of Mexico, south to the north part of South America.
Distribution Map: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willow_flycatcher#/media/File:Summer_breeding_and_winter_ranges_of_Willow_Flycatcher_subspecies_from_Sogge_et_al,_USGS_2010.JPG
ON PEI: Does not breed on Prince Edward Island, sightings occasional in summer.
CONSERVATION: Widespread and common in spite of some local population decline, currently not at risk globally.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Alder Flycatcher – This bird is very similar to the Alder Flycatcher, which is found in the same type of habitat – wetlands where those trees grow. The only way to tell the two species apart is from their vocalizations.
REFERENCES: https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Empidonax_traillii/ (University of Michigan)
https://txtbba.tamu.edu/species-accounts/willow-flycatcher/ (Texas Breeding Bird Atlas)
https://birdatlas.mb.ca/accounts/speciesaccount.jsp?sp=WIFL&lang=en (Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas)
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Willow_Flycatcher/lifehistory
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willow_flycatcher
https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/willow-flycatcher
http://identify.whatbird.com/obj/348/_/Willow_Flycatcher.aspx
https://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/es/swWillowFlycatcher.php (Endangered in the USA Prairies)
https://abcbirds.org/bird/southwestern-willow-flycatcher/ (American Bird Conservancy)

Willow Flycatcher - Glendale, AZ - photo by Jim Rorabaugh, USFWS
Willow Flycatcher – Glendale, AZ – photo by Jim Rorabaugh, USFWS
Willow Flycatcher, front view - Richmond, CA - Sept. 2018 - photo by Becky Matsubara
Willow Flycatcher, front view – Richmond, CA – Sept. 2018 – photo by Becky Matsubara

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