|Conservation status||Much of breeding habitat in the north is remote from effects of human disturbance. Numbers probably stable.|
|Habitat||Willows, alders, brushy swamps, swales. Breeds in thickets of deciduous trees and shrubs, usually near water, as around streams, ponds, or bogs. Especially common in thickets of willows or alders. Winters in woodland edges or second growth in the tropics, especially near water.|
Forages by watching from a perch and then flying out to catch insects. Usually forages from perches within tall shrubs or low trees; catches insects in mid-air, or takes them from foliage while hovering.
3-4, rarely 2. White, with brown spots concentrated toward larger end. Incubation is by female, 12-14 days. Young: Both parents bring food for nestlings. Age of young at first flight about 13-14 days.
Both parents bring food for nestlings. Age of young at first flight about 13-14 days.
Mostly insects. Differences in diet, if any, between this species and Willow Flycatcher are not well known. Apparently eats mostly insects, including wasps, bees, winged ants, beetles, flies, caterpillars, moths, true bugs, and others. Also eats some spiders, a few berries, and possibly some seeds.
Male defends nesting territory by singing. Courtship behavior is not well known, probably involves male actively chasing female through the trees. Nest site is usually low in a deciduous shrub, averaging about 2' up, usually lower than 6' above the ground. Placed in a vertical or diagonal fork in a branch. Nest (probably built by female alone) is an open cup, usually built rather loosely of grass, weeds, strips of bark, small twigs, rootlets, lined with plant down or other soft materials. Nest may have strips of grass or bark dangling from the bottom.
Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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More of a long-distance migrant than Willow Flycatcher, tending to nest farther north and winter farther south. Migrates late in spring and early in fall.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
See a fully interactive migration map for this species on the Bird Migration Explorer.Learn more
Songs and CallsA burry fee-bee-o, rather different from the wheezy fitz-bew of the Willow Flycatcher.
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How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the Alder Flycatcher
Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect this bird’s range in the future.
Zoom in to see how this species’s current range will shift, expand, and contract under increased global temperatures.
Climate threats facing the Alder Flycatcher
Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too.