Least Flycatchers or Chebec

The Least Flycatchers, Empidonax minimus, (also called chebec, after the sound it makes) is a small insect-eating bird. It is the smallest Empidonax flycatcher in eastern North America.


Adults have greyish-olive upperparts, darker on the wings and tail, with whitish underparts; they have a conspicuous white eye ring, white wing bars, a small bill and a short tail. The breast is washed with grey and the sides of the belly with yellow.

It is similar in appearance to the larger Eastern Wood Pewee.

Distribution / Range:

The breeding habitat of Least Flycatchers is open deciduous or mixed woods across Canada and the northern United States.

These birds migrate to Mexico and Central America. They make a cup nest on a fork in a small tree.

Diet / Feeding:

They wait on an open perch low or in the middle of a tree and fly out to catch insects in flight, also sometimes picking insects from foliage while hovering. They sometimes eat berries.

Call / Vocalization:

The song is a dry che-bec. The call is a sharp whit.

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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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