Alder Flycatcher

Alder Flycatcher (Empidonax alnorum)

Alder flycatcher

Alder flycatcher./R. Royse

General: Alder flycatchers have brownish olive upperparts and whitish underparts, with two white bars on each wing and a white eye ring. They eat a variety of insects, catching their prey in the air or gleaning it from foliage. They breed across northern North America and winter in South America. As their name implies, they often inhabit stands of alders – low, thick shrubs growing in damp soil or wetlands. They also live in moist fields and meadows with scattered-to-dense shrub cover. They nest low in multi-stemmed shrubs that offer dense leafy cover.

Status: Alder flycatchers are considered Species of Greatest Conservation Need in several states. The draining of wetlands and the development of land near those sensitive habitats has harmed this species in the past.
alder flycatcher range map
How to Help Alder Flycatchers: Clearcut timber harvesting can produce large patches of quality breeding habitat. Alder flycatchers will also use smaller cuts, especially ones sited next to existing forest openings. Protecting, maintaining, and restoring shrubby wetlands also benefits alder flycatchers. Older, senescing alder stands can be made thick again by shearing, mowing, cutting, or burning the over-mature shrubs. Studies have shown that utility rights-of-way maintained as low shrub habitat can support high densities of alder flycatchers.

Click on the map at left to see a larger image.

For more detailed information on this animal, including references to scientific papers, download Under Cover: Wildlife of Shrublands and Young Forest. This publication can also be purchased from the Wildlife Management Institute.

Visiting a habitat demonstration area within this species' range is a good way to increase your chances of seeing alder flycatchers and other young forest wildlife.