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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

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher -- Empidonax flaviventris

RANGE: Breeds from northern British Columbia and west-central and southern Mackenzie to southern Labrador and Newfoundland south to central Alberta, northern North Dakota, and northern Minnesota, across to southern Ontario, northeastern Pennsylvania, and Nova Scotia. Winters from Mexico to South America.

STATUS: Common.

HABITAT: Prefers predominantly coniferous forests of spruce and fir, frequenting low, swampy thickets bordering ponds and streams, spruce, cedar, tamarack and sphagnum bogs, spruce and alder swamps, wet mossy glades, and cool moist mountainsides.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Low, wet areas within coniferous forest.

NEST: Nests on or near the ground, sometimes at the base of a tree or in a cavity formed by upturned roots, but more often beside a hummock or mound and well-hidden in sphagnum moss or other vegetation. May also nest in a damp, mossy crevice of rocks, but always in a quiet, concealed site.

FOOD: Perches and feeds close to the ground, mainly on insects, which form 97 percent of the diet; occasionally eats a few berries.

REFERENCES: Beal 1912, Bent 1942, DeGraff et al. 1980, Forbush and May 1955, Terres 1980.

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