Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2011-31

Common name:

Least Flycatcher

Scientific name: Empidonax minimus
Date: June 22, 2011
Time: 3:30
Length of time observed: 3-5 minutes.
Number: 1
Age: Adult
Sex: Male
Location: Rock Canyon, Provo, UT
County: Utah County
Latilong: 6
Elevation: ~5,800 ft.
Distance to bird: 25 ft.
Optical equipment: Nikon CF III 7x20
Weather: Sunny, clear conditions.
Light Conditions: Bright, direct sunlight.
Description:        Size of bird:  
(Description:)       Basic Shape:  
(Description:)  Overall Pattern:  
(Description:)            Bill Type:  
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Small, olive-gray body. Bold eye-ring, white and round. Prominently forked tail extended well beyond wing tips. Whiteish buff wing bars on largely black wings. Head round and large in proportion to rest of body. Light yellow tint on sides of breast and belly, fading to a whiter central belly area and white throat. Dark Legs and feet. Black upper mandible, yellow appearing on lower mandible.
Song or call & method of delivery: Repeatedly made a sharp, two-tone song. After several minutes of listening, both an ascending and a descending version had been heard.
Behavior: Bird was found moving anxiously between branches and various trees next to the rock climbing area known as, "The Zoo."
Habitat: Spotted in a segment of trees up Rock Canyon that were mostly deciduous, with a few evergreens.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Willow Flycatcher is similar, but doesn't have the bold eye-ring of the Least Flycatcher. Most similar species, in fact, can be eliminated simply by the fact that they don't have both the bold eye-ring AND the prominently forked tail. Dusky, Hammond's, and Gray are all larger, grayer and have different eye-ring shape.

The number one distinguishing factor that makes me certain that it was a Least Flycatcher, however, is the call. I have an application on my cell phone that allows me to listen to bird calls and the Least has a very distinctive song that separates it from all other empids. After confirming that the song recording on my Sibley application matched what I was hearing, there was no question that I was seeing a Least Flycatcher.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
First time seeing a Least, but have experience with other Empidonax Flycatchers in Utah.
References consulted: Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Western North America, Fourth Edition. The Sibley eGuide to the Birds of North America (Cell phone application)
Description from: Notes made later
Observer: Justin Linge
Observer's address: Orem, UT
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird:  
Date prepared: June 23, 2011
Additional material: