Nature Journal
with Photos

Willow Flycatcher Identification Tips
(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)
General Information
- Small flycatcher
- Triangular head
- Indistinct eye ring
- Lower mandible orange
- Brownish-olive upperparts
- Breast has olive wash
- Whitish throat, belly and undertail coverts
- Wing bars
- Formerly conspecific with Alder Flycatcher and called
  Traill's Flycatcher
- Breeding habitat is scrubby areas-for example: bogs,
  abandoned fields

Similar species
The empidonax flycatchers are very difficult to tell apart. The safest way to differentiate them is by habitat, range, and voice in the breeding season. Differences in plumage due to molt, wear and age make the plumage quite variable.

This species is extremely similar to the Alder flycatcher and was once considered the same species. It often has a less noticeable eye ring and browner, less olive, upperparts; however, most individuals cannot be identified with certainty by sight.

Acadian and Yellow-bellied flycatchers tend to be greener above and yellower below than the Willow Flycatcher. Least Flycatcher is grayer above, smaller, shorter-tailed and has a more distinct eye ring.

Western United States empidonax flycatchers have darker lower mandibles and more obvious eye rings. Gray is grayer above and rangier. Hammond's is smaller, darker-chested and has a grayer throat. Pewees are quite similar but are larger, have different vocalizations and typically forage higher in the canopy.
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