Adult. Photo: Keith Williams/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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
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.
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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.
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How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the Hammond's 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 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.

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