Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - Empidonax flaviventris
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General Comments This is one of five regularly occurring, confusing Empidonax flycatchers in the eastern half of the continent. As it breeds in boreal forest openings and bog edges across Canada and extreme northern United States, nesting habitat is lacking in our area. It is a scarce migrant statewide, usually missed in a given year by an experienced field observer, though a handful are collectively found in the state each year, mainly in fall. Migrants tend to be silent, and as they prefer thickets and dense wooded edges, often where moist, the birds are easy to overlook. Thankfully, this species typically has enough yellowish color on the throat and the rest of the underparts that hearing one call is normally not critical to identification.
Breeding Status Nonbreeder
NC BRC List Definitive
State Status
U.S. Status
State Rank SZ
Global Rank G5
Coastal Plain Transient. In fall, very rare over nearly all of the province, though rare along the coast; casual in spring, with only a few records. Mainly mid- and late May, and mid-Aug to early Oct. Peak counts: one.
Piedmont Transient. Very rare in spring, and rare in fall, over the province. Mainly throughout May (very rare in late Apr), and late Aug to early Oct. Peak counts: two.
Mountains Transient. Occurs mainly in the lower elevations. Very rare in spring, and rare to locally uncommon (such as at Jackson Park in Hendersonville) in fall. Mainly throughout May, and mid-Aug to early Oct. Peak counts: 3, Jackson Park, 18 Sep 2008.
Finding Tips If you bird Jackson Park in Hendersonville daily in the fall, you stand a decent chance to eventually run into the species. Otherwise, you will have to stumble onto one somewhere.
Attribution LeGrand[2023-03-24], LeGrand[2018-02-01], LeGrand[2012-07-15]
NC Map
Map depicts all counties with a report (transient or resident) for the species.
Click on county for list of all known species.