Least Flycatcher (Empidonax minimus)

Least Flycatcher

Least Flycatcher (Empidonax minimus)

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Tyrannidae | [latin] Empidonax minimus | [UK] Least Flycatcher | [FR] Moucherolle Tchebec | [DE] Gartentyrann | [ES] Mosquero Minimo | [NL] Kleine Feetiran


Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

An eastern species ranging to the Northwest (mostly east of the Rockies). Smaller and grayer than the other eastern Empidonax
flycatchers; whiter below, with a white throat. Actively flicks its wings and tail. Identified by range, open-grove habitat, voice, and nest (on a horizontal branch).

Listen to the sound of Least Flycatcher

[audio:http://www.aviflevoland.nl/sounddb/L/Least Flycatcher.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

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North America : Northeast, nc


Open woods, aspen groves, orchards, shade trees.
Breeds in deciduous or mixed woodlands, seldom in purely coniferous groves. Usually around clearings or edges, but sometimes in the interior of dry woods. Winters in the tropics around woodland edges and second growth.


May nest in loose colonies. Courtship behavior not well known, but may involve male chasing female through the trees. Least Flycatchers often actively chase American Redstarts out of nesting territory.
Nest: Site is usually in deciduous sapling or small tree such as maple, birch, or ash, placed in a vertical fork in a branch. May be 2-65′ above ground, but heights usually average 12-
25′ up, varying with habitat. Nest (evidently built by female only) is a tidy cup of grass, strips of bark, twigs, lichens, plant fibers, often bound together with webs of spiders or caterpillars; lined with fine grass, plant down, animal hair, feathers.

Eggs: 4, sometimes 3, occasionally 5. Creamy white. Incubation is by female only, 13-15 days.
Young: Both parents bring food for nestlings. Age of young at first flight about 12-17 days; may be fed by parents for another 2-3 weeks after fledging.

Feeding habits

Mostly insects.
Summer diet is mostly insects, including many small wasps, winged ants, beetles, caterpillars, midges, and flies, with smaller numbers of true bugs, grasshoppers, and others. Also eats spiders, and occasionally a few berries.
Behavior: Forage
s by watching from a perch and flying out to catch insects. Often perches on dead twigs within the middle to lower levels of trees, in fairly open spots. Catches most insects in midair, but also takes food (including caterpillars and spiders) 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). 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.
Least Flycatcher status Least Concern


Canada, northern United States, east of Rockies. Winters Mexico to Panama. Migration:
Migrants are rare in the West, so many of those breeding in western Canada apparently migrate east and then south. In fall, adults tend to migrate south earlier than young birds. A few may winter in southern Florida.

Distribution map

Least Flycatcher distribution range map

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