Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2013-56

Common name:

Least Flycatcher

Scientific name: Empidonax minimus
Date: June 16, 2013
Time: 10:20 a.m.
Length of time observed: A few seconds at a time over three visits
Number: 1
Age: Adult
Sex: Unknown
Location: Riverdale Civic Center, Riverdale
County: Weber
Latilong: 41�10'46.42"N 111�59'34.53"W
Elevation: 4359
Distance to bird: 35-50 ft
Optical equipment: 8 x 42 binos
Weather: Sunny, temps in the 80's
Light Conditions: Sunny, but bird in shade of canopy
Description:        Size of bird: Small songbird--sparrow-sized
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Classic songbird
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Drab gray-green upperparts, pale gray and yellow underparts
(Description:)            Bill Type: Aerial insect-gleaning
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Only identifiable as an Empidonax flycatcher due to canopy shade, distance, size of bird and brief observations. Very small and underwhelming in appearance.

Beak: Small entirely yellow lower mandible; couldn't see maxilla.
Crown: gray-green. Side of face: gray. Eye: Black with wide-eyed appearance due to prominent eye-ring, but shape of eye-ring was not clear due to distance, angle, brevity of observation.
Throat: Pale gray, slightly paler than side of face.

Back, wings, tail an indeterminate shade of gray-green. Wings were darker than body and two wing-bars showed clearly. No white on tail. Upper breast same shade of pale gray as throat and seemed faintly streaked or rumpled; color gave way to pale yellow at mid-breast and through the belly. Didn't see undertail coverts or leg color.

Proportions, posture: Rounded crown with brief observation of slight, but rounded peak at rear once. Bird perched with strong vertical aspect and sang with lower back and rump somewhat rounded as tail pointed vertically to ground. Appearance of short primary projection and medium (for a flycatcher) tail length.
Song or call & method of delivery: Persistent "Che-BEK. Che-BEK. Che-BEK." Snapped out the call briskly with stronger emphasis on the BEK. Check audio recording
Behavior: Calling persistently from dead branches looping under highest canopy of cottonwoods. Remained 25-45 feet above the ground. Changed perches frequently, leaving view. Once, flew to a Black-chinned Hummingbird's nest on a cottonwood branch about 45 feet up and had a fluttering conflict with the female hummer on the nest, then flew away.
Habitat: Mature cottonwoods lining a river.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Not separable from other Empids visually due to shade, distance, angle, and frequent bouts of singing out of sight, but persistent, loud, snappy "Che-BEK." song distinctive and unlike other birds. Check recordings.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Two LEFLs by ear in 2013 also along the Weber River; several in New England on a recent trip. Well-experienced with common Utah Empids.
References consulted: Floyd, 2008, UBRC sight records 2012-24 and 25.
Description from: Notes taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Kristin Purdy
Observer's address: Ogden, UT
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Mike Hearell, Taylor Abbott, Mark Thal
Date prepared: June 16, 2013
Additional material: Audio Recording