Family Tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Least Concern

American Dusky Flycatcher (Empidonax oberholseri)


French: Moucherolle sombre German: Buschland-Schnäppertyrann Spanish: Mosquero oscuro
Other common names: Dusky Flycatcher

Empidonax oberholseri

A. R. Phillips

, 1939,

Hart Prairie, San Francisco Mountain, Arizona, USA


See E. fulvifrons. Apparently sister to E. affinis#R. Formerly considered conspecific with E. wrightii, although appears not to be particularly closely related. Populations from NW part of range were proposed for subspecific separation, under name spodius, but geographical variation negligible; in any case, type locality of spodius is from the wrong portion of species’ range#R. Monotypic.


W Canada (N British Columbia E to SW Saskatchewan) S in W USA (mainly W of Rocky Mts) to S California and NE New Mexico; also Sierra San Pedro Mártir, N Baja California#R. Winters SW USA (S Arizona) and Mexico (mainly in highlands), rarely to W Guatemala.

Descriptive notes

13–15·2 cm; 9·3–11·4 g. Has bold white eyering and supraloral line; greyish-olive crown, slight rounded crest; head side, nape and upperparts... read more


Common call a dry “whit”. Song consists of three elements, a rising “prll-it... read more


Breeds in open coniferous forest, mountain chaparral, aspen (Populus) groves, willow (... read more

Food and feeding

Insects, including adult and larval lepidopterans, dipterans, hymenopterans, orthopterans, and Odonata. Searches for prey while perched on... read more


Late May to Aug. Nest built by female, neatly woven cup made of grass and finely shredded plant materials, lined with fine weed bark, grass... read more


Migrant, wintering SW USA and Mexico. Departs breeding grounds Aug, passing through Mexico Aug... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Common; overall numbers estimated at 3,600,000 birds. Survey data show population increase of on average 3·6% annually between 1966 and 1991 in USA,... read more

Recommended citation

Farnsworth, A., Lebbin, D. & de Juana, E. (2019). American Dusky Flycatcher (Empidonax oberholseri). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 13 December 2019).