Photo: Pablo Leautaud/Flickr Creative Commons

Hammond's Flycatcher

Empidonax hammondii

The first claim to fame of Hammond's Flycatcher is that it is hard to tell apart from its relatives, especially the Dusky Flycatcher. However, although its range overlaps with that of the Dusky, Hammond's seems to prefer cooler surroundings at all seasons. It nests higher in the mountains and farther north; even on its main wintering grounds south of the border, it is usually in the mountains, not the hot lowlands.
Conservation status Has lost some habitat with cutting of forests in the northwest, but still widespread and common.
Family Tyrant Flycatchers
Habitat High conifer forests; in migration, other trees. Breeds in cool coniferous forests, often where conifers such as Douglas-fir or spruce are mixed with aspens or other deciduous trees. In some areas, may breed in pure stands of aspens. Winters mostly in pine-oak woods of mountains in Mexico and Central America.
The first claim to fame of Hammond's Flycatcher is that it is hard to tell apart from its relatives, especially the Dusky Flycatcher. However, although its range overlaps with that of the Dusky, Hammond's seems to prefer cooler surroundings at all seasons. It nests higher in the mountains and farther north; even on its main wintering grounds south of the border, it is usually in the mountains, not the hot lowlands.
Photo Gallery
  • adult
  • adult
  • adult
Feeding Behavior

Forages by watching from a perch and then flying out to catch insects, usually returning to perch to eat them. Uses feeding perches at various heights in forest, often low; may take insects in mid-air, from surface of foliage or branches, or from the ground.


Eggs

4, sometimes 3. Creamy white, sometimes lightly spotted with reddish brown. Incubation is by female only, 15-16 days. Young: Female broods young when they are small, and both parents bring food to nestlings. Age of young at first flight about 16-18 days. Young may remain in a group, tended by parents, for a week or more after fledging.


Young

Female broods young when they are small, and both parents bring food to nestlings. Age of young at first flight about 16-18 days. Young may remain in a group, tended by parents, for a week or more after fledging.

Diet

Insects. Apparently feeds only on insects. Summer diet includes beetles, caterpillars, moths, flies, leafhoppers, and small wasps. Winter diet not well known.


Nesting

In courtship, male approaches female, giving trilled call and fluttering wings. Nest site is on horizontal branch of tree (often Douglas-fir, pine, fir, or aspen), 10-100' above the ground, averaging about 25-35' up. Nest (built by female, rarely with help from male) is cup of weed stems, grass, strips of bark, lichens, and other items, lined with finer materials such as feathers, fur, and plant down. Spiderwebs often worked into nest. Nest looks more like those of wood-pewees than those of other Empidonax flycatchers.

Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
Learn more about these drawings.

Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds

Migration

Migration is spread over long period in both spring and fall, with some lingering late in fall. During spring, adult males migrate north earlier than females.

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Migration

Migration is spread over long period in both spring and fall, with some lingering late in fall. During spring, adult males migrate north earlier than females.

  • All Seasons - Common
  • All Seasons - Uncommon
  • Breeding - Common
  • Breeding - Uncommon
  • Winter - Common
  • Winter - Uncommon
  • Migration - Common
  • Migration - Uncommon
Songs and Calls
Song is seweep-tsurp-seep, the last part rising. Calls are a high peep (like the note of a Pygmy Nuthatch) and a soft wit.
Audio © Lang Elliott, Bob McGuire, Kevin Colver, Martyn Stewart and others.
Learn more about this sound collection.

How climate change could affect this bird's range

In the broadest and most detailed study of its kind, Audubon scientists have used hundreds of thousands of citizen-science observations and sophisticated climate models to predict how birds in the U.S. and Canada will react to climate change.

Learn more

Read more: climate.audubon.org
Tyrant Flycatchers Perching Birds

Hammond's Flycatcher

The darker the color, the more favorable the climate conditions are for survival. The outlined areas represent approximate current range for each season.

More on reading these maps.

Each map is a visual guide to where a particular bird species may find the climate conditions it needs to survive in the future. We call this the bird’s “climatic range.”

The colors indicate the season in which the bird may find suitable conditions— blue for winter, yellow for summer (breeding), and green for where they overlap (indicating their presence year-round).

The darker the shaded area, the more likely it is the bird species will find suitable climate conditions to survive there.

The outline of the approximate current range for each season remains fixed in each frame, allowing you to compare how the range will expand, contract, or shift in the future.

The first frame of the animation shows where the bird can find a suitable climate today (based on data from 2000). The next three frames predict where this bird’s suitable climate may shift in the future—one frame each for 2020, 2050, and 2080.

You can play or pause the animation with the orange button in the lower left, or select an individual frame to study by clicking on its year.

The darker the color, the more favorable the climate conditions are for survival. The outlined areas represent approximate current range for each season. More on reading these maps.
Winter
Summer

Winter Range
Summer Range
Both Seasons
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