Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2009-07

Common name:

Least Flycatcher

Scientific name: Empidonax minimus
Date: 9-17-07
Time: 17:45 - 18:15
Length of time observed: 30 minutes
Number: 1
Age: immature
Location: Red Hills Golf Course, St. George
County: Washington
Latilong: 19
Elevation: ~ 850 m
Distance to bird: > 10 m
Optical equipment: Leica binoculars, 300 mm Nikkor lens
Weather: clear and calm
Light Conditions: bright afternoon light
Description:        Size of bird:  
(Description:)       Basic Shape:  
(Description:)  Overall Pattern:  
(Description:)            Bill Type:  
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Least Flycatcher (Empidonax minimus)
Red Hills Golf Course, St. George, Washington County, UT
September 17, 2007, 1745 to 1815.

Steve Summers and I observed a Least Flycatcher in the triangle of dense vegetation along the 7th hole of the Red Hills Golf Course. It foraged very low in the vegetation never moving more than 6 feet above the ground, and occasionally flitting onto the ground in pursuit of a moth. Very active moving frequently and occasionally flitting its wings and tail. Empidonax flycatchers were rather common at the golf course and Steve and I had previously observed and studied several Hammonds, a Dusky, a couple Westerns and a Gray Flycatcher.

Description: Relatively small and compact flycatcher with a large head and round body. Upperparts olive green, brightest in center of back and underparts grayish with a distinct white throat, broad gray-olive breast band and whitish lower belly and undertail coverts. Head appeared large and rounded with bold white and uniformly round eye-ring, thinnest above and in front of the eye. Wing pattern bold and distinct, overall very black, with prominent buffy white wing-bars, broad white tertial edging, and white primary tips. Primary projection appeared short. Tail also appeared relatively thin with a prominent notch. Eye dark. Legs dark. Bill very broad at base and triangular, with dark upper mandible and completely yellow lower mandible except for a thin dark area along the midline near the tip.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: none
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Similar Species

Dusky Flycatcher: longer less compact shape, with browner less distinctly patterned wings lacking prominent white tertial edging, longer tail, less contrasting grayish throat, and long thin bill with dark outer half of lower mandible.

Hammond s Flycatcher: in fresh plumage in fall with more yellowish underparts, and contrasting gray head and olive back, less distinctly patterned wings lacking prominent white tertial edging, long primary projection, more crested head, distinct tear dropped shaped eye-ring expanding behind eye, and tiny thin dark bill.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
References consulted:  
Description from: Notes made later
Observer: Rick Fridell
Observer's address: Hurricane, UT
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Steve Summers
Date prepared: 03-26-09
Additional material: Photos
Additional Comments: Information above copied from field notes written following the sighting.