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Yellowish Flycatcher - BirdForum Opus

Subspecies flavescens
Photo © by firecrest15
Savegre riverside forest, Costa Rica, 3 May 2009
Empidonax flavescens


Length: 12.5cm (5in)
Adult: sexes similar; greenish-olive above; blackish wings with ochraceous-buff wing-bars; breast ochraceous yellow, fading to yellow in the belly; prominent eye-ring very pale yellow, broader behind the eye as in the Black-capped Flycatcher; upper mandible black, lower orangey; legs are gray.
Young: browner above, paler yellow below, with belly almost white; wing-bars are cinnamon-orange.

Similar species

Juvenile of subspecies flavescens
Photo © by HelenB
Savegre Lodge, Costa Rica, February 2007

Despite the name, adults are overall a brighter yellow than the Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (Empidonax flaviventris), a migrant flycatcher, which breeds in Canada and extreme North East USA and winters in Central America.

Likely to overlap with Acadian Flycatcher, Alder Flycatcher, Black-capped Flycatcher, Buff-breasted Flycatcher, Dusky Flycatcher, Hammond's Flycatcher, Least Flycatcher, Pine Flycatcher, White-throated Flycatcher, Willow Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher.

See also Empidonax.


Resident from South East Mexico to West Panama.

Approximate distribution map. From Xeno canto / NatureServe data at file date (from Xeno Canto)



Clements recognises the following subspecies [1]:


Cool cloud forests of the mountains, between 800m (2600ft) and 2450m (8000ft). Frequents edges, openings, clearings, shady pastures and second growth. Mainly found in the lower and middle parts of the forest, not in the canopy.



Sallies forth from a perch to catch insects, gleans them from foliage and bark while hovering, and also drops to the ground for insects and spiders; sometimes eats berries. Usually seen alone outside of the breeding season.


Breeds from March to June, building a deep cup of mosses and liverworts, lined with plant fibers and horsehair. The nest is placed 2-4.5m (6-15ft) up, in a crevice in big tree trunks, an earthen bank or cliff.


Dawnsong during the breeding season, a seee seee chit, about 20 times per minute; otherwise a thin high-pitched tseeep.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Birdforum Member observations

Recommended Citation

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