Wild Birds

Cordilleran Flycatchers

The Cordilleran Flycatcher, Empidonax occidentalis is a small insect-eating bird found in the Pacific Coast forests and mountain ranges from California to Alaska. They breed in the Rocky Mountains and migrate to Mexico for the winter.

Cordilleran Flycatchers breed in pine-oak or coniferous forests, often near running water


This small Empidonax flycatcher measures 13-17 cm in length.

Adults have an olive-grey upper plumage that is darker on the wings and tail. The plumage below is yellowish. They have conspicuous white eye rings, white wing bars, a small bill, and a short tail.

Similar Species:

The Cordilleran Flycatcher is identical to the Pacific-slope Flycatcher and these two species were formerly considered a single species known as Western Flycatcher.

Breeding / Nesting:

They make a cup nest on a fork in a tree, usually low in a horizontal branch. The average clutch consists of 2-5 eggs.

Diet / Feeding:

They mostly feed on insects taken in flight. They may be insects from foliage while hovering.

Song / Vocalization:

The song is described as a multi-versed pseet, ptsick, seet usually sung rapidly together; and the call as a loud pit Pete.


Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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