Alder Flycatcher


Common Name:Alder Flycatcher





Species:Empidonax alnorum





The Alder Flycatcher is a flycatcher found in the Empidonax genus along with the Willow Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Least Flycatcher, and the Acadian Flycatcher. All of these species share a similar look and build and it is very hard to tell the difference between the five species. All five birds have a greenish-gray back with a paler breast that may have a small amount of yellow coloring. They also have two white wing bars and eye ring. What's even more interesting is that experts cannot tell the difference between the Willow and the Alder Flycatcher even when they are in their hand. The only certain way to tell the difference between the five species is to listen to their call and the Alder Flycatcher's call is a sharp "rreeBa".


The Alder Flycatcher is mainly found in secondary forests mad up of mainly young trees or even shrubs near a water body. These birds are mainly seen in areas that have been clear cut in recent years so they are widely seen in areas were their has been a lot of logging. Their range goes up into Canada and it's southern most range is found in the North-eastern United Sates and is seen in Western New York during the summer. The Alder flycatcher will migrate south starting in August and will return in the spring usually in March. Most of the Alder Flycatcher's food is caught on the wing or they will take insects that are seen in a twig or leaf also called gleaning. Where there is no competition they will prefer to glean insects from a plant rather than fly to catch it. They eat a variety of insects including bees, wasps, flies, beetles and butterflies.




Alder Flycatchers are not generally an aggressive bird they will however give alarm calls, flick their tails, and raise the small crest on their head to ward away a predator, especially from their nest. It is interesting to note that when observers in the field saw competitions for a nesting sight between a Willow and the Alder Flycatchers the Willow Flycatcher was usually the dominant bird and chased the Alder Flycatcher out of the territory.




These birds will usually start nest building and lay 3-4 eggs by the middle of June and into July. Both the male and the female help with incubation. After the eggs have hatched both parents continue to take care of the young and about 14 days after hatching the young will fledge and leave the nest.


Birds of Western New York is brought to you by the Institute for the Study of Human-Animal Relations at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY.