Empidonax wrightii
(Gray Flycatcher)

Order: Passeriformes
Order Description: Passerines
Family: Tyrannidae
Family Description: Tyrant Flycatchers

Physical Description:
Size 5.5-6" (14-15cm). This Empidonax is gray above and light below (some birds may show an olive tinge on the back). Medium eye ring. Bill long with flesh-colored lower mandible. Pale white wing bars. Tail long, often showing white edges.

Similar Species- Most Empidonax flycatchers are so similar in appearance that it is nearly impossible to tell them apart be sight alone without a bird in hand. Luckily, their songs and calls along with habitat are good diagnostics.

A staccato, two-syllable song. Che-whip! or Che-whey! Note a dry Whit!

Breeds from central Oregon, southwestern Idaho, southwestern Wyoming, northeastern Utah, and central Colorado, south to east-central California, southern Nevada, central Arizona, and west-central New Mexico. Winters from southern California and central Arizona, south to Baja California and south-central mainland of Mexico.

Found in arid woodlands and brushy areas. During migrationClick word for definition and in winter, also found in arid scrub, riparianClick word for definition woodlands, and mesquite. Idaho study found species more abundant in old-growth juniper stands than in prescribed burn or clearcut areas.

Apparently eats small insects (beetles, grasshoppers, moths, etc.).

Hunts from perch; catches food in air or on ground. Builds cup-shaped nest in shrub or tree (frequently juniper or sage). Breeding population of approximately 25 pairs/100 ha has been reported in Oregon. Chipmunks and jays have been observed destroying nests.

Female incubatesClick word for definition 3-4 eggs for 14 days. Nestlings are altricialClick word for definition and downy, are tended by both parents, leave nest in 16 days, and are fed by parents for 14 more days.

Element Code: ABPAE33100
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S2,NTMB
National Rank: N5B,NZN

Important State References:
McCoy, M. 1993. Breeding bird survey of clearcut, prescribed burn, and seral/old growth stands of western juniper. USDI Bur. Land Manage., Boise District, Challenge Cost Share Project Report, Boise. 19pp.

Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.