Cordilleran Flycatcher (Empidonax occidentalis)

Cordilleran Flycatcher

Cordilleran Flycatcher (Empidonax occidentalis)

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Tyrannidae | [latin] Empidonax occidentalis | [UK] Cordilleran Flycatcher | [FR] Moucherolle des ravins | [DE] Ufertyrann | [ES] Mosquero Cordillerano | [NL]


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Empidonax occidentalis NA wc Mexico
Empidonax occidentalis hellmayri
Empidonax occidentalis occidentalis

Physical charateristics

The “Western” Flycatcher is now split into two species, the Pacific-slope and Cordilleran flycatchers. They are the most widely encountered type of empid in the West; they have yellowish underparts,
including the throat
. Others in their range may have a wash of yellow, especially in the fall, but their throats are gray or whitish. Eye-ring tends to be tear-shaped. The Pacific-slope and Cordilleran flycatchers are best separated by range and call notes of males.

Listen to the sound of Cordilleran Flycatcher

[audio: Flycatcher.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

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North America : Westcentral


Moist woods, forests, shady canyons. Breeds in forested regions, mostly in the mountains, and mostly in deciduous growth along streams through mixed or coniferous forest. Often forages in conifers such as pines or Dougl
as-firs, but not common in purely coniferous forest. May tend to be in slightly drier or more open forest than Pacific-slope Flycatcher.


Differences in nesting (if any) between this species and Pacific-slope Flycatcher are poorly known.
Nest: Site is sometimes in the fork of a small tree, but usually in other situations: in a cleft of a vertical streambank, on a stump, among the upturned roots of a fallen tree, under a small bridge, or on shed r
afters. Natural sites are usually near (or on) the ground, but on artificial structures the nest may be more than 10′ up. Nest (built by female) is cup of moss, grass, rootlets, strips of bark, lichens, and leaves, lined with finer material such as plant
fibers, hair, feathers.
Eggs: 3-4, rarely 5. Whitish, with brown blotches concentrated near larger end. Incubation is by female only, about 14-15 days.
Young: Both parents bring food for nestlings. Age of young at first flight probably about 14-18 days.

Feeding habits

Mostly insects.
Differences in diet between this bird and Pacific-slope Flycatcher poorly known. For the two species combined, diet is mostly insects, including small wasps, bees, flies, caterpillars, moths, beetles, and others. Also eats spiders, and a few berries and
Behavior: Forages by watching from a perch and then flying out to catch insects in
the air. Also takes some food from foliage or twigs while hovering. Often forages quite high among the branches of tall conifers, but will also feed low, especially among streamside trees.


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). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to 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.
Cordilleran Flycatcher status Least Concern


Southwestern Canada, mountains of western United States and Mexico. Winters mostly in foothills and mountains of Mexico. Migration: Arrives on breeding grounds mostly in May, departs in September.

Distribution map

Cordilleran Flycatcher distribution range map

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