Family Tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Least Concern

Cordilleran Flycatcher (Empidonax occidentalis)


French: Moucherolle des ravins German: Hochland-Schnäppertyrann Spanish: Mosquero cordillerano

Empidonax bairdi occidentalis


, 1897,

Pluma, Oaxaca, Mexico


See E. flaviventris. Formerly treated as conspecific with E. difficilis (which see). Geographical variation in size and colour may be clinal. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • E. o. hellmayri Brodkorb, 1935 – interior W North America from S Canada (WC Alberta, N Rocky Mts region) and USA (S to NE California, S Nevada, C & SE Arizona, SW Texas) S to N Mexico (Sierra Madre Occidental of Sonora and Chihuahua, and N Coahuila); winters Mexico S to C Oaxaca.
  • E. o. occidentalis Nelson, 1897 – highlands of Mexico, from Durango, SE Sinaloa, SE Coahuila and Nuevo León S to Guerrero, SC Oaxaca and W Veracruz.
  • Descriptive notes

    13–17 cm; 9–12 g. Large-headed flycatcher. Has indistinct pale supral­oral line, distinct white to dull yellowish teardrop-shaped eyering extending to a point... read more


    Song “ps-séét ptsick seet” or “tséé-wee pttuck tseep... read more


    Breeds in humid to semi-arid pine-oak (Pinus-Quercus) and coniferous forest,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects; occasionally fruit. Searches for prey while perched 0–9 m up; sallies usually 1–2 m to hawk insects from the air or to... read more


    Late Apr to Jul in Canada and USA, and Mar–Sept in Mexico; double-brooded. Nest a cup made of green moss, bark strips and rootlets,... read more


    N populations medium-distance migrants, wintering in Mexico. Generally departs breeding grounds in... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common to fairly common; total population estimated at 2,600,000 birds. Survey data show no significant decline or increase in population size... read more

    Recommended citation

    Farnsworth, A. & Lebbin, D. (2019). Cordilleran Flycatcher (Empidonax occidentalis). 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 6 December 2019).