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The Cordilleran Flycatcher, a small and subtly striking bird, presents an intriguing subject for ornithologists and nature enthusiasts alike. With its greenish tinged body adorned with a delicate yellow wash on the throat and an eye-catching teardrop-shaped eye-ring, this flycatcher species is a marvel of nature's artistry.

Its migratory habits, distinctive vocalizations, and nesting behaviors add to its allure. As we delve into the details of its physical features, unique plumage patterns, and fascinating courtship rituals, we will uncover a deeper understanding of this captivating avian species and its role in the ecosystem.

Key Takeaways

  • The Cordilleran Flycatcher has distinctive physical features, including a teardrop-shaped eye-ring, a peaked crown, and a unique bill color scheme.
  • Its plumage is greenish tinged, and it can be difficult to differentiate from the Pacific-slope Flycatcher.
  • The Cordilleran Flycatcher is approximately 5 1/2-6 inches in length and belongs to the Perching Birds category.
  • It has a unique vocalization pattern for communication and territorial defense.

Flycatcher's Distinctive Physical Features

unique flycatcher physical characteristics

The Cordilleran Flycatcher, a small songbird found in the mountain ranges of western North America, possesses several distinctive physical features. The bird's eyering, which takes on a teardrop shape and extends behind the eye, is a key characteristic. It displays a peaked crown and a bill with a unique color scheme.

The Cordilleran Flycatcher, measuring between 5 1/2-6 inches, possesses a greenish tinged upper body and a yellow wash on the throat. Its slim body, upright posture, and large head differentiate it from other small songbirds. The bird is part of the Empidonax flycatchers group, having a close relation with the Pacific-slope Flycatcher.

It often chooses coniferous and mixed forests as its breeding ground. A distinct trait of the bird is its behavior of flying out from perches at mid heights, making it an intriguing subject for those interested in bird study and research.

Distinctive Plumage Patterns

The Cordilleran Flycatcher, a small songbird native to the mountain ranges of western North America, stands out due to its distinctive plumage patterns. These patterns consist of a unique greenish tinged plumage and a teardrop-shaped eye-ring.

This particular bird species poses a captivating challenge for birdwatchers and ornithologists who often find it difficult to differentiate from the Pacific-slope Flycatcher. Field guide apps provide comprehensive documentation of the distinct features of the Cordilleran Flycatcher, using data from official eBird totals and regional bird records. This comprehensive data contributes to the knowledge and understanding of this specific bird species.

The unique plumage of the Cordilleran Flycatcher, seen in the foothills and mountains of the Rocky Mountains, distinguishes it in the avian world, making birdwatching in the region a more engaging experience.

Anatomy and physiology

study of body structure

The Cordilleran Flycatcher, a captivating avian species, is characterized by a compact build and striking plumage. This bird is native to the mountainous regions in western North America.

The anatomy and physiology of the Cordilleran Flycatcher can be described in three main points. Firstly, it has a length of approximately 5 1/2-6 inches (14-15 cm), with greenish-brown upperparts and a lemon-washed, pale underbelly. Secondly, it has a distinctive peaked crown, teardrop-shaped eyering, and black and orangish bill that assist in bird identification. Lastly, it belongs to the Perching Birds category and uses a unique vocalization pattern for communication and territorial defense.

Due to its similarities with the Western Flycatcher, the Cordilleran Flycatcher is often scrutinized by records committees. Understanding its breeding, population, and captive provenance is key for conservation efforts.

Colorful Feather Patterns

vibrant plumage designs

The Cordilleran Flycatcher, a species recognized for its colorful feather patterns, exhibits three distinct characteristics.

The primary is a greenish-brown color pattern, presenting a striking contrast with a pale lemon wash and an olive-tinged or brownish breast.

The second is the presence of two light wingbars, contributing to its elegant appearance and facilitating visual identification.

The third characteristic is a teardrop-shaped eyering, which enhances its visual uniqueness.

These patterns enable birdwatchers and researchers to distinguish the Cordilleran Flycatcher from other bird species, facilitating its recognition in official eBird and global bird ID records.

Breeding and Nesting Habits

avian reproduction and nesting

The Cordilleran Flycatcher, notable for its vibrant feather patterns, engages in distinct breeding and nesting habits. In this process, the bird generally lays a clutch of 3-4 eggs, sometimes even 5. Incubation is undertaken by the female bird alone. Post hatching, both parents take up the task of feeding the nestlings. The young ones typically take their first flight between the ages of 14-18 days.

The Cordilleran Flycatcher's feeding behavior is characterized by perching and catching insects in mid-flight. Their diet is composed of insects, spiders, berries, seeds, and other small creatures. These behaviors contribute to the bird's survival and its role within the ecosystem.

The breeding and nesting routines of the Cordilleran Flycatcher form a significant part of its life history, as recorded by eBird records committees and field guides.

Migrates to Central America

birds migrate to central america

The Cordilleran Flycatcher migrates to Central America in the fall season. This significant migration journey is monitored by official records committees and eBird species count. These resources help track the migratory patterns of the Cordilleran Flycatcher, assisting bird enthusiasts and researchers.

Distinguishing the Cordilleran Flycatcher from the Western Flycatcher requires attention to detail and understanding of bird ID guides. Birdwatchers observe the Cordilleran Flycatcher's distinctive behaviors and markings during its migration to Central America. This contributes to the documentation of its migratory route and habits, providing insights for conservation efforts and scientific research.

The Cordilleran Flycatcher's annual migration to Central America is an opportunity for bird enthusiasts to witness this event and contribute to research.

Distinctive Call During Courtship

The Cordilleran Flycatcher, during its courtship period, produces a signature high-pitched call. This call encompasses a thin, rising whee-seet song and features a mix of flat and rising call patterns, chirp/chip, and whistle sounds. These distinctive vocalizations serve the purpose of communication and territorial defense.

The uniqueness of the Cordilleran Flycatcher's courtship call is integral to its breeding behavior, although how it differs from that of Pacific-slope Flycatchers remains unspecified. The vocalizations of the Cordilleran Flycatcher are helpful for distinguishing it from similar species, a fact that is beneficial to birdwatchers and researchers.

Recognizing the unique courtship call is valuable for distinguishing the Cordilleran Flycatcher from other species, such as the Western Flycatcher. This understanding has particular significance in regions where official eBird species counts rely on records accepted by regional bird ID and field experts, offering immediate ID assistance to bird enthusiasts.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Difference Between Cordilleran and Pacific-Slope Flycatcher?

The difference between Cordilleran and Pacific-Slope Flycatcher lies primarily in their physical characteristics and habitats. The Cordilleran Flycatcher is recognized by its greenish hue, yellow throat, and teardrop-shaped eye-ring. On the other hand, the Pacific-Slope Flycatcher is noted for its propensity to breed mainly in coastal mountain ranges. Both of these species were once classified as the same, but are now differentiated by these features.

How Do You Identify a Pacific-Slope Flycatcher?

Identifying a Pacific-slope Flycatcher involves observing the distinct physical attributes of a small bird that measures between 5 1/2-6 inches. Its appearance features a greenish tinge above, a throat with a yellow wash, and a teardrop-shaped eye-ring. Another identifying feature is its unique, thin, high whee-seet song. The bird's presence is expected from May to September, noted for its method of foraging, which includes catching insects in the air.

What Is the Cordilleran Flycatcher Habitat?

The Cordilleran Flycatcher occupies habitats characterized by mountainous regions, specifically shady ravines and canyons within coniferous and mixed woodland settings, typically in proximity to water bodies. This species extends its breeding territory across the Rocky Mountains and Sierra Madre, stretching from Canada to Mexico. Threats to this bird include forest cutting and the effects of climate change.

What Is the New Name for the Pacific-Slope Flycatcher?

The Pacific-Slope Flycatcher now carries the name Cordilleran Flycatcher. This renaming occurred in the late 1980s, marking a shift in understanding about the species' taxonomy and distribution. The Cordilleran Flycatcher contributes intriguing data to the field of avian research.

What are the differences between the Cordilleran Flycatcher and the Dusky Flycatcher?

When comparing the Cordilleran Flycatcher and the Dusky Flycatcher, it’s important to note their distinct features. The cordilleran flycatcher has a buffy eye ring, while the dusky flycatcher has a white eye ring. To learn more about the dusky flycatcher, visit the dusky flycatcher information page.


In conclusion, the Cordilleran Flycatcher is a small bird with distinctive physical features and plumage patterns. Its anatomy and physiology, including its colorful feather patterns, make it a unique and fascinating species.

The bird's breeding and nesting habits, as well as its migration to Central America, add to its allure. Its distinctive call during courtship is a testament to its vocal abilities.

Overall, the Cordilleran Flycatcher is an intriguing and captivating bird species.