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Dusky Flycatcher

Empidonax oberholseri

Length: 5.75 inches Wingspan: 8.5 inches Seasonality: Summer / Migrant
ID Keys: White eye-ring, 2 wing-bars, grayish upperparts with a tinge of green,  Difficult to differentiate with Gray and Hammond's Flycatchers.

Dusky Flycatcher - Empidonax oberholseriThe Dusky Flycatcher is one of three confusing and similar Empidonax flycatchers found in the western part of the continent, with the other two being the Gray and Hammond's Flycatchers.  The three species are often differentiated from each other by habitat, as each prefers different elevation zones.  The Dusky Flycatcher is the "middle" species, found at middle elevations in mountains throughout western North America.  

Habitat: The preferred summer breeding habitat is a mix of trees and shrubs, and can include open forest with a shrubby understory, mountain chaparral, or brushy slopes with just a few scattered trees.  In winter, can be found in riparian areas in Mexico.

Diet: Feeds almost exclusively on insects.

Behavior: Forages in typical flycatcher fashion, observing from a perch and flying out to catch passing insects.  They will also sometimes hover to glean insects from foliages or twigs.

Nesting: June and July

Song: Variable songs of chirp, greeep, or pweet. 

Migration: Summers at middle elevations in the mountains of the western United States and western Canada.  Winters in Mexico

Interactive eBird Map: Click here to access an interactive eBird map of Dusky Flycatcher sightings

Similar Species: Gray Flycatcher, Hammond's Flycatcher

Conservation Status: Numbers are generally stable, and may be increasing.

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Dusky Flycatcher

2) WhatBird - Dusky Flycatcher

3) Audubon Guide - Dusky Flycatcher

Photo Information: May 28th -- Little Spearfish Creek -- Scott Weins


Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Dusky Flycatcher - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Common summer resident in the Black Hills

Additional Dusky Flycatcher Photos
Dusky Flycatcher - Empidonax oberholseri