|Conservation status||Could be vulnerable to loss of habitat, especially on wintering grounds. Currently numbers appear to be stable.|
|Habitat||Woods; in summer, boreal forests, muskegs, bogs. Breeds in wet northern forest, especially in spruce bogs with ground cover of sphagnum moss, also in tamarack-white cedar swamps, and in willow-alder thickets along streams in dense coniferous forest. In winter, lives in undergrowth of tropical forest.|
Forages by watching from a perch, usually at low to mid levels in the forest, and then flying out to catch insects in the air. Also takes some food (such as caterpillars and spiders) from foliage or twigs while hovering. May sometimes take some insects while perched.
3-4, sometimes 5. White, lightly spotted with brown. Incubation is by female only, 12-14 days. Young: Both parents bring food for nestlings. Age of young at first flight about 13-14 days. Probably only 1 brood per year.
Both parents bring food for nestlings. Age of young at first flight about 13-14 days. Probably only 1 brood per year.
Mostly insects. Feeds on a variety of small insects, both flying types and those taken from foliage, including many ants and small wasps, also flies, beetles, true bugs, caterpillars, moths, and others. Also eats many spiders, and eats small numbers of berries and sometimes seeds.
Male defends nesting territory by singing, often from an exposed perch. Adults tend to be quiet and inconspicuous around the nest. Nest site is usually in dense sphagnum moss on or just above the ground in boggy places; sometimes placed among the upturned roots of a fallen tree, or in other sheltered low spot. Generally well hidden within mosses with only a small entrance showing, and very difficult to find. Nest is bulky cup of mosses, mixed with weeds and rootlets, lined with grass, sedges, and many fine rootlets.
Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Spring migration is notably late, with most northbound migrants passing through in mid to late May. Almost all migration is through the east, even for birds nesting in far western Canada.
- 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 CallsOn breeding grounds, a flat chilk or killic; also a rising 2-note whistle, per-wee?
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How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the Yellow-bellied 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.
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Climate threats facing the Yellow-bellied 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.