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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

Gray Flycatcher -- Empidonax wrightii

RANGE: Breeds from south-central Washington and south-central Idaho to central Colorado, south to south-central California, central Arizona, and south-central New Mexico. Winters in central Arizona and Mexico, rarely in southern California.

STATUS: Fairly common.

HABITAT: Associated with arid woodland and brushy areas, where it inhabits tall sagebrush plains, pinyon-juniper woodlands, and arid, very open pine woods. During migration and in winter it occurs in arid scrub, riparian, and mesquite woodlands.

NEST: Nests in a crotch of a thornbush, juniper, or sagebrush, 2 to 5 feet above the ground, sometimes in loose colonies.

FOOD: Does most of its foraging in the spaces between bushes, and often flies to snatch insects from the ground. Catches insects from the size of tiny beetles to butterflies.

REFERENCES: Bailey in Farrand 1983b, Phillips et al. 1964, Russell and Woodbury 1941, Terres 1980.

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