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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Western Flycatcher -- Empidonax difficilis


RANGE: Breeds from southeastern Alaska, northwestern and central British Columbia, and southwestern Alberta to western South Dakota, south along the coast and mountains to southwestern California, central Nevada, central and southeastern Arizona, and western Texas. Winters in Mexico.

STATUS: Common.

HABITAT: Found in a variety of wooded habitats; prefers moist, shaded forests, either coastal or lower montane, or higher in the Rockies and Great Basin ranges. Also inhabits hollows, canyon bottoms, riparian woodlands, and deciduous, coniferous, and mixed forests.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: A sheltered nest site, possibly near a water source such as a stream, spring, or seep.

NEST: May use a variety of sites for nesting; these include rock ledges or crevices of canyon walls, often concealed by ferns or clumps of mosses; crotch or tree limb projecting from the main trunk; behind flaps of loose bark; tree cavities; or old buildings. Nest height ranges from ground level up to 30 feet.

FOOD: Commonly forages within shaded forests for insects and spiders. Also eats a few seeds.

REFERENCES: Bailey in Farrand 1983b, Beal 1912, Beaver and Baldwin 1975, Davis et al. 1963, Johnsgard 1979, Verner and Boss 1980.


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