The Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii) is a small insect-eating, neotropical migrant bird of the tyrant flycatcher family.
Adults have brown-olive upperparts, darker on the wings and tail, with whitish underparts; they have an indistinct white eye ring, white wing bars, and a small bill. The breast is washed with olive-gray. The upper part of the bill is gray; the lower part is orangish. At one time, this bird and the Alder Flycatcher (Empidonax alnorum) were considered to be a single species, Traill’s Flycatcher. The Willow and Alder Flycatchers were considered the same species until the 1970s. Their song is the only reliable method to tell them apart in the field. [Wikipedia]
A small, drab flycatcher of wet, brushy areas, the Willow Flycatcher is best identified by its voice. Nearly identical to the Alder Flycatcher; the two species were considered the same until the 1970s. [All About Birds]
Willow Flycatcher Facts [All About Birds]
- Flycatcher songs are innate, not learned like those of most songbirds. Young Willow Flycatchers reared in captivity with Alder Flycatcher tutors sang typical Willow Flycatcher songs.
- When the two species are found together, the Willow Flycatcher will keep Alder Flycatchers out of its territory. But it expends more effort to keep out other Willow Flycatchers.
- If a Brown-headed Cowbird lays its eggs in the nest of a Willow Flycatcher, the flycatcher may bury the cowbird eggs in the nest lining, or even build a completely new nest over the top of the first one.
- The oldest recorded Willow Flycatcher was a female, and at least 11 years old when she was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in California.