Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 201

Common name:

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher

Scientific name: Empidonax flaviventris
Date: September 23, 2012
Time: 10:00 am
Length of time observed: 45 minutes
Number: 1
Age: first winter
Location: Garr Ranch, Antelope Island State Park
County: Davis
Elevation: ?
Distance to bird: varied from 10 to 30 feet
Optical equipment: 8x42 binocs, 10x43 binocs
Weather: 65 degrees, slight breeze
Light Conditions: full sun, though bird was usually in the shade
Description:        Size of bird: less than 6 inches
(Description:)       Basic Shape: small songbird
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: yellowish-green above, pale yellow below, dark wings
(Description:)            Bill Type: flat, wide, insect catching bill
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Bill was flat and wide, dark upper mandible, completely orange lower mandible. Large-headed look, with slight crest. Head and back were dark yellowish-green. Bold broad yellow-tinged complete eye ring, slightly wider behind the eye. Yellow throat and underside, with an olive-gray wash on upper breast. Dark wings with two buffy wing bars. Short-tailed with long primaries. Slightly notched dark tail.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: none
Behavior: Unusual flycatcher behavior, as most forays for insects were short and within the interior branches of the tree. The bird never perched on the edges of the trees, or flew to the ground, but rather stayed within the foliage. When it did fly from one tree to another, it flew directly into the inner branches. Each time it was difficult to find until it moved again. No wing-flicking was observed.
Habitat: Openly spaced trees in grassy field.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
The yellow underparts and bold complete eye ring eliminate most flycatchers. Immature Acadian similar, but lacks the yellow throat. Immature Hammond's has a narrow bill with a dark tip underneath, white eye ring and throat. Pacific-slope and Cordilleran have an almond-shaped eye ring that is broken on top and extends to point at rear. P-S and Cordilleran also have longer tail and shorter wing tips, a more brownish tone above, and a brownish wash on breast. Hammond's, P-S and Cordilleran frequently flick their wings -- Yellow-bellied doesn't.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Handful of Yellow-bellied sightings back East. Many years experience with western flycatchers, very little with eastern.
References consulted: Sibley, Nat'l Geo, Audubon, various internet sites.
Description from: From memory
Observer: Kathy and Joel Beyer
Observer's address: SLC, UT
Observer's e-mail address: **
Date prepared: September 30, 2012
Additional material: Photos