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Yellow-bellied Flycatcher

Empidonax flaviventris

Length: 5.5 inches Wingspan: 8.5 inches Seasonality: Migrant
ID Keys: Yellow wash on throat and belly, obvious wing-bars, olive-colored upperparts, wide yellow eye ring.

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - Empidonax flaviventrisThe Yellow-bellied Flycatcher is one of the smallest of the Empidonax flycatchers to migrate through the state.  While most Empidonax flycatchers are very difficult to identify, the Yellow-bellied is the only one in the eastern U.S. with a yellow throat.  It is normally found as a migrant in eastern South Dakota, but the similar Cordilleran Flycatcher is sometimes found in the extreme western part of the state.  It can often be lured closer to a birder's location as it responds to various "pishing" or squeaking sounds.

Habitat: Breeds in northern forests, often in and around wet bogs and swamps, and along thickets along streams.  Lives in tropical forests in the winter.

Diet: Feeds almost exclusively on insects, especially flying insects.  Will also occasionally eat berries and seeds.

Behavior: Takes most food by observing from a perch, and flying out and capturing flying insects in mid-air once spotted.  They will also hover and glean insects from foliage and branches, or take fruit and berries while flitting and climbing through foliage.

Breeding: Non-breeder in South Dakota.

Song: Soft chebunk song, also a lyrical per-wee.

Migration: Summers throughout much of central and eastern Canada, and in the Great Lakes Region and New England in the United States.  Winters in South America.

Interactive eBird map: Click here to access an interactive eBird map of Yellow-bellied Flycatcher sightings

Similar Species: Acadian Flycatcher, Cordilleran Flycatcher, Least Flycatcher

Conservation Status: Numbers appear to be stable, or perhaps even increasing. They are common in parts of their range, which covers a very broad geographic area. The IUCN considers the Yellow-bellied Flycatcher to be a species of "Least Concern".

Further Information: 1) WhatBird - Yellow-bellied Flycatcher

2) US Forest Service -  Yellow-bellied Flycatcher Conservation Assessment

3) Audubon Guide - Yellow-bellied Flycatcher

Photo Information: Photo taken in Aberdeen by Dan Tallman.


Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Rare migrant in the eastern part of the state, accidental in the west.

Additional Yellow-bellied Flycatcher Photos (coming soon!)