Skip Navigation Links

What does a Southwestern Willow Flycatcher look like?

Tuziwf1.gif (22173 bytes)

wftuzi2.gif (12761 bytes)

Wfnm1.gif (18604 bytes) Wfnm2.gif (17564 bytes)

Photo by George Andrejko, Arizona Game and
Fish Department

Photo by G. Andrejko, Arizona
Game and Fish Department

Photo by Bill Maynard, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish

Photo by Bill Maynard, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish



The Southwestern Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii) measures about 5.75 inches (15 cm) in length, and weighs only about 0.4 ounces (12 g). Overall, it is roughly the size of a small sparrow. Both sexes look alike. The flycatcher's appearance is overall greenish or brownish gray above, with a white throat that contrasts with a pale olive breast. The belly is pale yellow. Two white wing bars are visible, but the eye ring is faint or absent. The upper mandible is dark, and the lower mandible light.

It closely resembles the other races of Willow Flycatcher, and several other species of the Empidonax genus, particularly the closely-related Alder Flycatcher (Empidonax alnorum). The Empidonax flycatchers are renowned as one of the most difficult groups of birds to distinguish by sight alone.

Unless you are an expert birder, the most reliable way to distinguish the Willow Flycatchers from other similar flycatcher species is not to rely upon its appearance, but rather through its distinct "fitz-bew" song.

The images above - and shown below - may be downloaded and used for presentations, reports, and similar uses, but may not be reproduced for commercial use or sale, unless express permission is received from the image source. Please attribute the photo credit as indicated by the text below each image.

Willow Flycatcher in willow (left side) - White Mountains, AZ (TIFF format; 2.8 Mbytes). Photo by Suzanne Langridge, USGS

Willow Flycatcher in willow (right side) - White Mountains, AZ (JPEG format; 4.6 kbytes) Photo by Suzanne Langridge, USGS

Willow Flycatcher in willow singing - White Mountains, AZ (TIFF format; 2.5 Mbytes) Photo by Suzanne Langridge, USGS

Willow Flycatcher in hand - color band RWB - Arizona (TIFF format; 3 Mbytes) Photo by USGS

Willow Flycatcher nest in willow, - Arizona (TIFF format; 2.14 Mbytes) Photo by USGS

Willow Flycatcher nest in saltcedar, 3 chicks - Arizona (JPEG format; 709 kbytes) Photo by USGS

Willow Flycatcher nest with eggs - Maryland (JPEG format; 606 kbytes) Photo by USGS

Willow Flycatcher nest with 3 chicks - Maryland (JPEG format; 465 kbytes) Photo by USGS

Willow Flycatcher nestling in hand - Arizona (TIFF format; 2.4 Mbytes) Photo by USGS


Return to the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher home page.