My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Least Flycatcher, Empidonax minimus

Note: this post, while published, is a work in progress, as are all posts in this series, My Photo Life List. My goal is to photograph every species of bird that is seen on a regular basis here in Michigan, working from a list compiled by the Michigan chapter of the Audubon Society. This will be a lifelong project, that I began in January of 2013, and as I shoot better photos of this, or any other species, I will update the post for that species with better photos when I can. While this series is not intended to be a field guide per se, my minimum standard for the photos in this series is that one has to be able to make a positive identification of the species in my photos. The information posted here is from either my observations or the Wikipedia, the online free encyclopedia, however, I have personally shot all the photos appearing in this series.

Least Flycatcher, Empidonax minimus

The least flycatcher is a small insect-eating bird. It is the smallest Empidonax flycatcher in eastern North America.

The least flycatcher is between 5 and 5 3⁄4 inches (13 and 15 cm) long, with a 7 1⁄2 to 8 1⁄2 in (19 to 22 cm) spread. It typically weighs around 11 grams (0.39 oz). Adults have greyish-olive upperparts, darker on the wings and tail, with whitish underparts; they have a conspicuous white eye ring, white wing bars, a small, short bill and a short tail. The breast is washed with grey and the sides of the belly with yellow. It is similar in appearance to the larger eastern wood pewee.

Their breeding habitat is open deciduous or mixed woods across Canada and the northern United States. They make a cup nest on a fork in a small tree. These birds migrate to Mexico and Central America.

They wait on an open perch low or in the middle of a tree and fly out to catch insects in flight (hawking), also sometimes picking insects from foliage while hovering (gleaning). They sometimes eat berries.

The song is a dry che-bec. The call is a sharp whit.

On to my photos:

Least flycatcher

Least flycatcher

Least flycatcher

Least flycatcher

Least flycatcher

Least flycatcher

Least flycatcher

Least flycatcher

Least flycatcher

Least flycatcher

Least flycatcher

Least flycatcher

Least flycatcher

Least flycatcher

This is number 164 in my photo life list, only 186 to go!

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!


18 responses

  1. Nice captures! Beautiful 🙂

    July 15, 2014 at 12:36 am

    • Thank you very much!

      July 15, 2014 at 2:51 am

  2. Stunning pictures 🙂

    July 15, 2014 at 2:53 am

    • Thank you!

      July 15, 2014 at 10:18 am

  3. Stupendous catches!

    July 15, 2014 at 3:49 am

    • Thanks! But, the only thing stupendous about the photos is that they’re not blurry as windy as it was when I shot them.

      July 15, 2014 at 10:19 am

  4. Well done for adding this one to your expanding collection.

    July 15, 2014 at 4:26 am

    • Thank you Susan!

      July 15, 2014 at 10:20 am

  5. Great shots!

    July 15, 2014 at 5:38 am

    • Thanks Bob!

      July 15, 2014 at 10:20 am

      • You are such a great resource for an uneducated birdlover. Thanks.

        On Tue, Jul 15, 2014 at 10:20 AM, Quiet Solo Pursuits wrote:

        > quietsolopursuits commented: “Thanks Bob!” >

        July 15, 2014 at 11:50 am

      • Thanks Judy! I lucked out with this bird, I saw it on the same day as the sedge wren, and the flycatcher wasn’t much bigger, which was the only way I could ID it. All flycatchers look alike, you have to almost hear them to make a positive ID.

        July 15, 2014 at 2:18 pm

  6. Nice shots! I don’t recognize the plants he’s on.

    July 15, 2014 at 10:12 am

    • Thanks, but as much as the plants were whipping around in the wind, that’s understandable. 😉

      July 15, 2014 at 10:15 am

  7. Some very good shots of an attractive little bird

    July 15, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    • Thanks Clare! Just another day at the office. 😉

      July 15, 2014 at 2:15 pm

  8. I was just thinking, “why do they call this sweet little bird ‘least’?” and then you answered the question by telling us it’s the smallest of these flycatchers. Ah! Well, smallest but certainly neither last nor least, right?! 😉 PS, cute captures!

    July 16, 2014 at 6:58 am

    • Thanks Lori! Remember, I don’t name them, I just find and photograph them. 😉

      July 16, 2014 at 9:27 am