The Alder Flycatcher belongs to the Genus Empidonax or Empids. Eleven of the 14 species of Empids breed in North America.
These relatively small, drab birds are notoriously difficult to identify. Their plumage is characterized by shades of green, brown, buff, and off-white, with darker wings and tails. Most have wing bars and eye rings. Most species are long distance migrants. Plumages become duller with wear.
Until the early 70s, the Alder Flycatcher was considered the same species as the Willow Flycatcher. Most adults have strongly olive-green underparts. Usually dark head, often with a grayish tone; contrasts with a whitish throat. Usually narrow and well-defined eye ring. Dark wings with prominent wing bars.
Extremely similar to the Willow Flycatcher, the Alder Flycatcher should be identified by its voice. On average, the Alder has a slightly shorter bill, a more distinct eye ring, and a greener back. It usually has a darker head with a more contrasting white throat than the eastern Willow Flycatcher.
Distribution & Habitats
The Alder flycatchers prefer damp, brushy habitats, wet woodland edges, birch woods and thickets. They can be found throughout Texas and Great Lakes area (late May); most have left the U.S. by early October. They winter in South America. Sometimes they are seen on Colorado, Washington, and California.