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Hammond's Flycatcher flycatcher

Identification and Pictures

(Empidonax hammondii)belted kingfisher

Hammond's Flycatchers are small active songbirds, about 5 1/2 inches.  They have an olive brown back, pale yellow belly, and gray breast.  They have a small pointed bill, almost like a Kinglet, long wings with two white wing-bars, whitish under tail coverts, and a whitish eye ring that is not visible in all birds.  Their legs, and feet are black.  These birds flick their wings and tail constantly.  This is one bird that gives ornithologists a headache since Hammond's and Dusky Flycatchers are extremely difficult to tell apart.  Dusky flycatchers have a slightly longer tail, there is less contrast between the chest, and belly, the under parts are not quite as yellow.  They have a weak fluttering flight with shallow wing beats.

Photos by Keith Lee.  The camera I use is the Canon EOS 40D.flycatcher


The song of Hammond's flycatcher is in 3 parts, something like sel-ip, twur, tree, and they have a call that is a sharp pic.  sound

Preferred Habitat

In summer they can be found from Alaska down through Western Canada, and the U.S.  They prefer coniferous woodlands or mixed forests, usually staying high in the canopy.  They migrate south to Mexico, and Central America for winter.

Breeding and Nesting

Like most songbirds the male sings to defend his territory, and attract a mate.  In early breeding season the males sometimes become locked in mid air as they fight.  The nest is a cup built by the female with grass, plant fiber, pine needles, and twigs, lined with feathers, and other soft material, on a high tree limb, out away from the trunk.  Females incubate 3 to 4 white, sometimes spotted eggs for around 15 days.  Both parents will feed the young birds which will fledge in 16 to 18 days.  The fledglings will usually stay with the parents for another week.


Flycatcher's main diet is insects such as beetles, flies, bees, moths, and caterpillars.  They are aerial feeders, usually foraging high in the trees where they perch on an open branch, and fly out to capture their prey.  They sometimes forage in lower vegetation or even on the ground.

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