Bird GuideTyrant FlycatchersHammond's Flycatcher

At a Glance

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.
Perching Birds, Tyrant Flycatchers
Low Concern
Arroyos and Canyons, Forests and Woodlands, High Mountains
Alaska and The North, California, Northwest, Plains, Rocky Mountains, Southwest, Texas, Western Canada
Flitter, Hovering

Range & Identification

Migration & Range Maps

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.


5-5 1/2" (13-14 cm). A small, dark Empidonax flycatcher of the west. Short-billed and short-tailed, and often shows contrast between gray head and olive back, but can look extremely similar to Dusky Flycatcher.
About the size of a Robin, About the size of a Sparrow
Gray, Yellow
Wing Shape
Tail Shape
Notched, Square-tipped

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.
Call Pattern
Flat, Undulating
Call Type
Buzz, Chirp/Chip


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.



4, sometimes 3. Creamy white, sometimes lightly spotted with reddish brown. Incubation is by female only, 15-16 days.


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.

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.


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


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.

Climate Vulnerability

Conservation Status

Has lost some habitat with cutting of forests in the northwest, but still widespread and common.

Climate Map

Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect the range of the Hammond's Flycatcher. Learn even more in our Audubon’s Survival By Degrees project.

Climate Threats Facing the Hammond's 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.