Least Flycatcher

Empidonax minimus
Range Map

The Least Flycatcher is a bird of eastern North America, but they nest in the northern USA as far west as Montana, Northern Idaho. Further north, they make summer homes in eastern British Columbia, and east across Canada’s Maritime Provinces and the northern tier of the USA to the east coast. When the season for raising babies ends, most of these smallest of all North American flycatchers migrate to southern Mexico and Central America.

Taxonomists regard the Least Flycatcher as monotypic (i.e. there are no subspecies).

While many bird species seek isolated nesting locations, far from other members of their species, these birds choose to nest in clusters or groups with an approximate distance of 150 to 200 feet between nesting pairs.

I met my first Least Flycatcher at Little Lake, Alberta (Canada) in 2005 during my expedition to Alaska. I followed the meeting less than a week later in Fort Nelson (British Columbia). I would not see them again until I found myself in south Texas during spring migration in early May 2021. After meeting them during a spring tour of Canada in 2022, I returned to south Texas for the fall migration season, and enjoyed their company once more on south Padre Island.

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