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Description of the Ash-throated Flycatcher


The Ash-throated Flycatcher is a large flycatcher with rufous primaries, a rufous tail with a darker tip, grayish-brown upperparts, a pale grayish breast, and pale yellowish belly.  Length 8 in.  Wingspan: 12 in.

ash-throated flycatcher


Ash throated Flycatcher 1 gl
Photograph © Greg Lavaty.


Sexes are the same.

Seasonal change in appearance



Juveniles are slightly browner above.


Ash-throated Flycatchers inhabit arid, brushy country and open woodlands


Ash-throated Flycatchers eat insects.


Ash-throated Flycatchers forage by observing for flying insects from an exposed perch, and then sallying out to capture them in flight.


Ash-throated Flycatchers breed across much of the southwestern and western U.S. and in Mexico. They winter from the extreme southwestern U.S. to Central America. The population appears to be stable.

More information:

Bent Life History

Visit the Bent Life History for extensive additional information on the American Goldfinch.

Wing Shape

The shape of a bird's wing is often an indication of its habits and behavior. Fast flying birds have long, pointed wings. Soaring birds have long, broad wings. Different songbirds will have a slightly different wing shape. Some species look so much alike (Empidonax flycatchers) that scientists sometimes use the length of specific feathers to confirm a species' identification.

Wing images from the University of Puget Sound, Slater Museum of Natural History


Fun Facts

Ash-throated Flycatchers do not drink water, instead relying on their insect diet for moisture. This enables them to live in arid environments.

On rare occasion, Ash-throated Flycatchers prey on small reptiles such as lizards.


Calls include a sharp "bik" or 'ka-bik,' while the song consists of a series of "wheer' notes.



The Ash-throated Flycatcher’s nest is a cup of twigs, weeds, and grass lined with softer materials, and is placed in a natural cavity or an old woodpecker hole in a tree or large cactus.

Number: 4-5.

Color: Whitish in color with darker markings.

Incubation and fledging:
The young hatch at about 15 days, and begin to fly in about another 2 weeks, though continuing to associate with the adults for some time.