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American dusky flycatcher

Empidonax oberholseri

Photo by Marcel Holyoak (Flickr)

Common name:
American dusky flycatcher (en); papa-moscas-sombrio-americano (pt); moucherolle sombre (fr); mosquero oscuro (es); buschland-schnäppertyrann (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Tyrannidae

This species is found breeding in western North America, as far north as southern Yukon, Canada and as far east as South Dakota and Colorado, United States, down to southern California and north-western Mexico. They migrate south to winter in across Mexico and Guatemala.

These birds are 13-15 cm long and have a wingspan of 20-23 cm. They weigh 9-11 g.

The American dusky flycatcher breeds in temperate forests and scrublands, including coniferous, deciduous and mixed forests. During winter they are found in tropical and sub-tropical dry forests and scrublands. They are present at altitudes of 650-3.000 m.

Like most flycatchers, they mainly hunt flying insects by sitting on a perch and sallying out to catch the prey on the wing. They are known to take wasps, bees, grasshoppers, damselflies, moths, butterflies and caterpillars.

American dusky flycatchers breed in May-August. The nest is a cup made of grasses, weeds and shreds of bark, lined with plant down, feathers, animal hair, and other soft materials. It is placed is a vertical fork in a scrub or small tree, 1-5 m above the ground. The female lays 2-4 white eggs, rarely with brownish flecks, which she incubates alone for 15-16 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 15-20 days after hatching, but continue to be fed by the parents for another 3 weeks. Each pair raises a single clutch per year.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and in Canada de population was estimated at 0,5-5 million individulas. The global population had a stable trend over the last 4 decades so this species is not considered threatened.

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