Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2017-16

Common name:

Least Flycatcher

Scientific name: Empidonax minimus
Date: June 4th, 2014
Time: 7:40 a.m.
Length of time observed: 15 min
Number: 1
Age: adult
Sex: male
Location: Little Dell Reservoir 40.7775413, -111.6874003
County: Salt Lake County
Latilong: 6
Elevation: 5850'
Distance to bird: about 15'
Optical equipment:  binoculars and 50mm camera lens
Weather: 60* scattered clouds
Light Conditions: good morning light
Description:        Size of bird: small empid
(Description:)       Basic Shape: flycatcher
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: gray, brown, white, yellow
(Description:)            Bill Type: flycatcher bill
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Both Josh and I identified it vocally. We had both heard them before and given the distinct nature of there song we knew what we had. We then were able to get close and confirm the ID visually and through photographs. Visually the bird seemed similar to Hammond's and Dusky but given the short bill, short primary projection, photographs, and vocal recordings we did not doubt our ID. Dark tip on yellow lower mandible. Dark upper mandible. Strong wing bars. Strong eye ring with a bit of a tear shape at the back. Yellow underbelly. White throat, whitish chest and gray above.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: Very vocal in Cottonwood tree about 2/3rds up. Identified at a distance by vocals then when we were close the bird responded to Least Flycatcher recording and flew in closer and aggressively gave territorial songs.
Behavior: Extremely active vocally. Looked to be trying to establish a territory.
Habitat: Large cottonwoods, Boxelders, and Ash Trees at the edge of sagebrush and rabitbrush meadow near the reservoir.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Vocals clench it. Visually looked like Hammond's or Dusky. Looked more similar to Dusky given the short primary projection. Also had a smaller shorter bill.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Seen and heard a few of them before. Seen and tried to distinguish hundreds of empids over the years.
References consulted: Memory first, then checked against Sibley second edition and both Peterson and Kaufman Advanced birding. Other photographs in general.
Description from: From photo(s) taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Matthew Pendleton
Observer's address: 12043 Bluff View Dr. Sandy 84092
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Josh Taylor
Date prepared: Feb. 7. 2017
Additional material: Photos, audio recording
Additional comments: Sorry I didn't do this at the time of the sighting. I missed that it was a review species until yesterday when I was looking through all the species for which documentation is requested. Better late than never.