Birds Of Southern California

Hammond's Flycatcher (Empidonax hammondii)

The Hammond's Flycatcher is a small insect-eating bird. It is a small Empidonax flycatcher, with typical size ranging from 12.5-14.5 cm. Here in Orange County, CA, the Hammond's can be easily confused with the Pacific-slope Flycatcher. It's call is one good degree of separation as well as the slightly larger head, smaller bill and whitish tear drop eye ring vs. the slightly yellower eye ring on the Pacific-slope Flycatcher. Adults have greyish-olive upperparts, darker on the wings and tail, with whitish underparts; they have a conspicuous white eye ring, white wing bars, a small bill and a short tail. The breast is washed with grey and the sides of the belly with yellow. Many species of Empidonax flycatchers look closely alike. The best way to distinguish species is by voice, by breeding habitat and/or range. Their preferred breeding habitat is coniferous forests in highlands of the western United States, Alaska and Canada. They make a cup nest on a fork in a tree, usually high in a horizontal branch. Females usually lay 3-4 eggs. These birds migrate to Mexico and Central America for the winter. They wait on an open perch high or in the middle of a tree and fly out to catch insects in flight, (hawking), also sometimes picking insects from foliage while hovering, (gleaning). The song is a multi versed hoarse ssilit, greeep, silit, pweet. The call is a sharp peek. The name of this bird commemorates William Alexander Hammond who was the surgeon general of the US Army. Hammond collected bird specimen's for Spencer Fullerton Baird (Excerpt from Wikipedia)