Pacific-slope Flycatcher (Empidonax difficilis)

Pacific-slope Flycatcher

Pacific-slope Flycatcher (Empidonax difficilis)

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Tyrannidae | [latin] Empidonax difficilis | [UK] Pacific-slope Flycatcher | [FR] Moucherolle de l’Ouest | [DE] Ufertyrann | [ES] Mosquero del Pacfico | [NL] Oeverfeetiran


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Empidonax difficilis NA w w Mexico
Empidonax difficilis cineritius
Empidonax difficilis difficilis
Empidonax difficilis insulicola

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-sl
ope and Cordilleran flycatchers are best separated by range and call notes of males.

Listen to the sound of Pacific-slope Flycatcher

[audio: Flycatcher.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

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North America : West


Moist woods, mixed forests, shady canyons.
Breeds in wet forested regions. Often common in zones of coniferous forest, but there it seems to concentrate in deciduous growth, such as maples and alders, along streams. Also found in canyon groves of oak, sycamore, or willow. May tend to be in wetter
forest than Cordilleran Flycatcher.


In the Pacific Northwest, this species and Hammond’s Flycatcher may defend territories against each other.
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 rafters. Natural sites are usually near (or on) t
he 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 about 14-18 days.

Feeding habits

Mostly insects. Differences in diet betwee
n this bird and Cordilleran Flycatcher poorly known. For the two species combined, diet is mostly insects, including small wasps, bees, flies, true bugs, caterpillars, moths, beetles, and others. Also eaten are spiders, and a few berries and seeds.
Forages by watching from a perch, at any level within shady parts of the forest, and then flying out to catch insects in the air. Also takes some food (such as caterpillars and spiders) from foliage or twigs while hovering.


This species has a very 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.
Pacific-slope Flycatcher status Least Concern


Southeastern Alaska south to Baja California in coastal region. Winters mostly in lowlands of western and southern Mexico. Migration: During migration, occurs commonly in the lowlands of southern Arizona, on its way
to and from mainland Mexico.

Distribution map

Pacific-slope Flycatcher distribution range map

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