Alder Flycatcher (Empidonax alnorum)

Alder Flycatcher

Alder Flycatcher (Empidonax alnorum)

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Tyrannidae | [latin] Empidonax alnorum | [UK] Alder Flycatcher | [FR] Moucherolle des aulnes | [DE] Erlentyrann | [ES] Mosquero Alisero | [NL] Elzenfeetiran


Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

Alder and Willow flycatchers, formerly lumped as Traill’s, are now regarded as two species. They are almost identical, with little or no eye-ring. Alder is a shade more olive; Willow is slightly darker and browner. They are safely separated only by voice.

Listen to the sound of Alder Flycatcher

[audio: Flycatcher.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

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North America : North


Willows, alders, brushy swamps, swales.
Breeds in thickets of deciduous trees and shrubs, usually near water, as around streams, ponds, or bogs. Especially common in thickets of willows or alders. Winters in woodland edges or second growth in the tropics, especially near water.


Male defends nesting territory by singing. Courtship behavior is not well known, probably involves male actively chasing female through the trees.
Site is usually low in a deciduous shrub, averaging about 2′ up, usually lower than 6′ above the ground. Placed in a vertical or diagonal fork in a branch. Nest (probably built by female alone) is an open cup, usually built rather loosely of grass, weeds
, strips of bark, small twigs, rootlets, lined with plant down or other soft materials. Nest may have strips of grass or bark dangling from the bottom.
Eggs: 3-4, rarely 2. White, with brown spots concentrated toward larger end. Incubation is by female, 12-14 days.
Young: Both parents bring food for nestlings. Age of young at first flight about 13-14 days.

Feeding habits

Mostly insects. Differences in diet,
if any, between this species and Willow Flycatcher are not well known. Apparently eats mostly insects, including wasps, bees, winged ants, beetles, flies, caterpillars, moths, true bugs, and others. Also eats some spiders, a few berries, and possibly some
Behavior: Forages by watching from a perch and then flying out to catch insects. Usually forages from perches within tall shrubs or low trees; catches insects in midair, or takes them from foliage while hovering.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Alder Flycatcher status Least Concern


Alaska, Canada, northeastern United States. Winters mostly in Amazon Basin in South America. Migration:
More of a long-distance migrant than Willow Flycatcher, tending to nest farther north and winter farther south. Migrates late in spring and early in fall.

Distribution map

Alder Flycatcher distribution range map

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