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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

Acadian Flycatcher -- Empidonax virescens

RANGE: Breeds from southeastern South Dakota, northern Iowa, and extreme southeastern Minnesota to southern New York, Vermont, and Massachusetts, south to central and southern Texas, the Gulf Coast, and central Florida. Winters in Central and South America.

STATUS: Common

HABITAT: Inhabits the lowest tree canopy and understory layers of shady, humid riverbottom forests and wooded swamps. Prefers damp, lowland forests with an understory and uplands with wooded ravines near streams. Favors beech forests in the Northeast.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Mature, extensive deciduous forests with tall trees, a closed canopy, and open spaces in understory for feeding.

NEST: Nests on a fork of a horizontal branch well away from the main trunk, usually 10 to 20 feet above the ground, often along a stream and sometimes over water. Prefers open space below the nest to approach the nest easily. Favors lower branches of beech, dogwood, and witch-hazel, but also nests in oak, hickory, maple, basswood, and cherry. Occasionally is parasitized by brown-headed cowbirds.

FOOD: Eats mostly insects; also eats some spiders and millipedes, and occasionally a few seeds and berries.

REFERENCES: Beal 1912, Bent 1942, DeGraff et al. 1980, Forbush and May 1955, Johnsgard 1979, Mumford 1964.

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