Gray Flycatcher

Empidonax wrightii

Order

PASSERIFORMES

Family

Tyrant Flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Code 4

GRFL

Code 6

EMPWRI

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

PHOTOS 1200

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Gray Flycatcher is a small passerine found most often in dry and arid regions of western North America near the Great Basin. Diets of this bird consist of insects foraged in shrubs and low tree branches. Its normal habitat is typically sagebrush areas, pinyon pine and juniper woods, and ponderosa pine forests. Breeding grounds span from southern British Columbia to central Washington, eastern Oregon and California. They also include Nevada, southern Idaho, Utah, northern Arizona, southwestern Wyoming, western Colorado and northwestern New Mexico. It spends winter months in Baja California, southeastern Arizona, central Sonora and central Oaxaca. The conservation rating for the Gray Flycatcher is Least Concern.

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SUMMARY

Overview

Gray Flycatcher: Small flycatcher with gray or olive-gray upperparts and pale gray underparts. Eye-ring is white. Upper mandible is dark gray, while lower mandible is pale pink with black tip. Wings are dark with two white bars. The tail is long, dark, and has white edges. Legs and feet are black.


Range and Habitat North America

Gray Flycatcher: Breeds from extreme southern British Columbia and southwestern Wyoming south through California, Arizona, and New Mexico. Spends winters in southern California, southern Arizona, southern Texas, and central-western Mexico. Sagebrush and pinyon-juniper woodlands are its preferred habitats.


Range and Habitat Hawaii


Range and Habitat Palau

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INTERESTING FACTS

  • The Gray Flycatcher was not recognized as breeding in the United States until the early 20th century. Before that time it was thought to breed in northern Mexico and to wander northward in the fall.
  • The similarity of Gray and Dusky flycatchers has caused confusion for a long time. In fact, the specimen designated as the "type" for Dusky Flycatcher was actually a Gray Flycatcher. The current scientific name of the Gray, E. wrightii was the scientific name of the Dusky Flycatcher for many years.
  • Other Empidonax flycatchers, if they wag their tails, will wag them by jerking them up and then lowering them. A Gray Flycatcher, in contrast, will gently lower its tail, then raise it.
  • A group of flycatchers has many collective nouns, including an "outfield", "swatting", "zapper", and "zipper" of flycatchers.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across North America.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION



SONGS AND CALLS

Xeno-Canto Sound

Gray Flycatcher A2

  • Title: Gray Flycatcher A2
  • Recordist: Andrew Spencer
  • Description: Song is a repeated "chuwip" or "chibit".
  • Location: CO
  • Date: "07/19/2016"

Gray Flycatcher A1

  • Title: Gray Flycatcher A1
  • Recordist: Andrew Spencer
  • Description: "Whit" calls are used for alarm and location.
  • Location: NM
  • Date: "07/19/2016"

Gray Flycatcher A3

  • Title: Gray Flycatcher A3
  • Recordist: Andrew Spencer
  • Description: Aggressive calls.
  • Location: CO
  • Date: "07/19/2016"

Gray Flycatcher A4

  • Title: Gray Flycatcher A4
  • Recordist: Andrew Spencer
  • Description: Dawn song.
  • Location: CO
  • Date: "07/19/2016"

Similar Sounding Xeno-Canto

Dusky Flycatcher A1

  • Title: Dusky Flycatcher A1
  • Recordist: Andrew Spencer
  • Description: Song is a mix of "prr-it", "prrdrrrt", and "pseet" notes.
  • Location: CO
  • Date: "07/19/2016"

Hammond's Flycatcher A3

  • Title: Hammond's Flycatcher A3
  • Recordist: Andrew Spencer
  • Description: Song is a dry "sweep-tseep-seep".
  • Location: CO
  • Date: "07/19/2016"

Similar Sounding Lang

Dusky Flycatcher 1

  • Title: Dusky Flycatcher 1
  • Recordist: Lang Elliott
  • Description: Song is a mix of "prr-it", "prrdrrrt" and "pseet" notes.
  • Date: "April 28, 2014"
  • Location: UT

Hammond's Flycatcher 1

  • Title: Hammond's Flycatcher 1
  • Recordist: Lang Elliott
  • Description: Song is a "seweep-tseep-seep".
  • Date: "April 28, 2014"
  • Location: WA

Voice Text

"chiwip", "chi-bit", "whit"

Vocalization

Gray Flycatcher: Song is in two parts, rising in tone: "chiwip" or "chi-bit." Call is a soft "whit."

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Kavita Jhunjhunwala

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UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Lower mandibleX
The lower part of the bill.
Upper mandibleX
The upper part of the bill.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X