Family Tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Least Concern

American Grey Flycatcher (Empidonax wrightii)


French: Moucherolle gris German: Trockenbusch-Schnäppertyrann Spanish: Mosquero gris
Other common names: Grey Flycatcher

Empidonax wrightii

S. F. Baird

, 1858,

El Paso, Texas, USA


See E. fulvifrons. Formerly considered conspecific with E. oberholseri; despite many similarities with that species, is apparently more closely related to E. atriceps and E. minimus. Monotypic.


Extreme SW Canada (SC British Columbia) and Great Basin states of NW USA S to SC California and E to S Wyoming, C Colorado and SC New Mexico, locally to W Texas. Winters SW USA (Arizona) and Mexico (S to S Baja California and Oaxaca).

Descriptive notes

14–15·5 cm; 12·5 g. Large pale grey Empidonax. Has narrow whitish supraloral stripes meeting over bill, narrow whitish eye-ring; crown dull pale... read more


Frequent call a dry “pit” or “whit”. Song, by male only, consists of two... read more


Breeds in arid woodlands and shrublands, typically large sagebrush (Artemisia), often... read more

Food and feeding

Insects; possibly some fruit in winter. Searches for prey while perched on lowest branches of large conifers, or on dead branch or top of... read more


Late May to mid-Aug; double brooded. Nest cup constructed of grass, pine needles, bark shreds and sage panicles, lined with soft grass,... read more


Short-distance to medium-distance migrant, wintering mostly in Mexico. Migrates at night. Departs... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Common, increasing; overall numbers estimated at 1,200,000 birds. Reported densities of 10–30 singing males/km². Estimated 167,000 breeding... read more

Recommended citation

Farnsworth, A. & Lebbin, D. (2019). American Grey Flycatcher (Empidonax wrightii). 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 8 December 2019).