Family Tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Least Concern

Buff-breasted Flycatcher (Empidonax fulvifrons)


French: Moucherolle beige German: Orangebrust-Schnäppertyrann Spanish: Mosquero pechicanelo

Muscicapa fulvifrons


, 1841,

Miquiahuana, Tamaulipas, Mexico


Thought to form a clade with E. atriceps, E. wrightii, E. minimus, E. hammondii, E. oberholseri and E. affinis#R. Validity of several races doubtful; nominate and brodkorbi known only from holotypes. Six subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • E. f. pygmaeus Coues, 1865 – SW USA (SE Arizona, formerly farther N in Arizona and SW New Mexico) and NW Mexico (E Sonora, N Chihuahua, N Sinaloa, S Coahuila); winters SC Mexico (S to Michoacán and Morelos).
  • E. f. rubicundus Cabanis & Heine, 1860 – #Rhighlands in C Mexico locally from S Chihuahua S to Guerrero and Puebla; winters S to Guatemala.
  • E. f. fulvifrons (Giraud, 1841) – SW Tamaulipas (E Mexico).
  • E. f. fusciceps Nelson, 1904 – highlands of S Mexico (Chiapas) and Guatemala.
  • E. f. brodkorbi A. R. Phillips, 1966 – S Oaxaca (S Mexico).
  • E. f. inexpectatus Griscom, 1932 – C & S Honduras; one record, perhaps this race, in extreme NW Nicaragua#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    11·5–13 cm; 8 g. Small, distinctively coloured Empidonax. Nominate race has pale supraloral line, prominent white eyering; rest of head and nape and upperparts... read more


    Common call “pit” or “pic”. Song, by both sexes during breeding, male from perch 1–20 m high... read more


    Breeds in scrub, pastures, and pine (Pinus) and oak (Quercus) woodland with open... read more

    Food and feeding

    Arthropods, including hymenopterans, hemipterans, Beetles (Coleoptera), orthopterans, lepidopterans, dragonflies and damselflies (Odonata... read more


    Late May to Jul in USA (Arizona) and mid-Mar to mid-Sept in Mexico. Nest constructed by female, an oval-shaped cup of small rootlets,... read more


    Mainly resident; N populations migrate S and others move downslope in winter. Populations in... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Uncommon to common or fairly common; overall population estimated at 2,000,000 birds. Disappeared from USA during last century;... read more

    Recommended citation

    Farnsworth, A. & Lebbin, D. (2019). Buff-breasted Flycatcher (Empidonax fulvifrons). 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 16 December 2019).