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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Alder Flycatcher -- Empidonax alnorum

RANGE: Breeds from central Alaska and central Yukon to central and eastern Quebec, southern Labrador and southern Newfoundland, south to south-central British Columbia and southern Alberta, across to south-central Minnesota, eastern Pennsylvania, and Connecticut; also in the Appalachians south to western North Carolina. Winters in South America.

STATUS: Common.

HABITAT: Typically inhabits northern alder swamps, where it occupies a variety of habitats, including thickets of aspen parkland. Usually found near water in dense, low, damp thickets of alders, willows, sumacs, viburnum, elderberries, and red-osier dogwood bordering bogs, swamps, marshes, and along the banks of small streams and shores of ponds.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Forest openings and edges with dense, low shrubs.

NEST: Nests in low trees or shrubs including dogwood, blackberry, hawthorn, viburnum, willow, spiraea, or alder, 1 to 6 feet above the ground, in an upright fork or saddled on a branch.

FOOD: Catches at least 65 species of beetles as well as other flying insects, spiders, and millipedes; eats some fruits.

REFERENCES: Bent 1942, DeGraff et al. 1980, Eckert in Farrand 1983b, Mousley 1931, Stein 1958, Terres 1980.

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