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Willow flycatcher

Empidonax traillii
Photo by Larry Thompson (Discover Life)

Common name:
willow flycatcher (en); maria-fibiu (pt); moucherolle des saules (fr); mosquero saucero (es); weidenschnäppertyrann (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Tyrannidae

This species breeds in southern Canada and in most of the United States with the exception of the south-easternmost corner of the country. They migrate south to winter in Central America and in Colombia, western Venezuela, northern Ecuador and northern Peru.

These birds are 13-17 cm long and have a wingspan of 19-24 cm. They weigh 11-16 g.

Willow flycatchers are found breeding in moist scrublands and scrub-dominated wetlands. Outside the breeding season they are found in dry scrublands, moist forests and pastures. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 2.500 m.

They hunt insects on the wing, mostly taking Hymenoptera, Diptera, Cicadellidae, Coleoptera and Formicidae.

Willow flycatchers breed in May-July. The nest is an open cup woven of weed stems, plant fibres, pine needles, shredded bark, and grass, lined with feathers, hair, rootlets, and fine materials. The nest is placed low in a scrub or small tree. The female lays 3-5 creamy white or buff eggs with dark markings, which are incubated for 13-14 days. The chicks fledge 13-15 days after hatching.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population estimated 3,3 million individuals. The population has undergone a small increase over the last 4 decades.

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