Acadian Flycatcher

Common Name - Acadian Flycatcher

Category - Birds

ScientificName - Empidonax virescens

Kingdom - Animalia

Phylum - Chordata

Class - Aves

Order - Passeriformes

Family - Tyrannidae

Genus - Empidonax

Species - virescens


Description - Olive green on back and head; white eye ring; white belly with yellowish tint on sides; wings and tail are dark gray with two distinctive white wing bars

Size - 5.5 – 6.5 inches (14 – 16.5 cm) long

Ecological Role - Successful nesting is compromised by the brown-headed cowbird. Cowbirds are considered brood parasites. This means they rely on other birds to care for their young.

The acadian flycatcher feeds mainly on insects, which are caught mid-air.

Fun Facts - When perched, the Acadian flycatcher has a characteristic pose. When they get excited their wings drop and their tails twitch up and down. This might happen when intruders invade their territory.

Due to the Acadian flycatcher’s coloration, it blends with the surroundings making it difficult to see. It is often easier to locate them by listening to their song rather than looking for them in the trees.

The male Acadian flycatcher feeds the babies from the first clutch while the female incubates the second clutch.

Food - Insects, berries and some seeds


Nest - Fragile and messy cup shape; constructed from plant material, twigs, spider webs and grass; placed in the forks of outer branches approximately 12 feet (3.658 m) above ground; female establishes nesting site

Breeding - Spring – summer; monogamous pairs form

Eggs - Less than one inch (2.54 cm) long, lightly colored with brown splotches; usually 4 or fewer eggs per nest; usually produce two clutches per year

Habitat - Forest species found near water, deciduous forests, beech groves and ravines and bottomland hardwoods

Kentucky Distribution  

Life Cycle

Life Span

Life Stage


Seasonal Changes - The Acadian flycatcher breeds in Kentucky. It molts the breeding feathers before over wintering in the tropics of South America.


Status - Abundant in appropriate habitat


Voice - Fast, sharp, one syllable: “Peet-za”

Young - Hatch in 2 weeks; born helpless, featherless, and with eyes closed (altricial); fly from nest in 14 days

What We Can Do - Preserve as much unbroken forestland as possible around riparian areas. Forest fragmentation invites brood parasites like the brown-headed cowbird that can have a negative effect on many species of songbirds.


Diagnosis and Control

Interesting Facts

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