Gray Flycatcher: Small flycatcher with gray or olive-gray upperparts and pale gray underparts. Eye-ring is white. Upper mandible is dark gray, while lower mandible is pale pink with black tip. Wings are dark with two white bars. The tail is long, dark, and has white edges. Legs and feet are black.
Range and Habitat
Gray Flycatcher: Breeds from southern Washington and southwestern Wyoming south to eastern California, central Arizona, and central New Mexico. Spends winters in southern California and southern Arizona. Sagebrush and pinyon-juniper woodlands are preferred habitats.
The Gray Flycatcher was not recognized as breeding in the United States until the early 20th century. Before that time it was thought to breed in northern Mexico and to wander northward in the fall.
The similarity of Gray and Dusky flycatchers has caused confusion for a long time. In fact, the specimen designated as the "type" for Dusky Flycatcher was actually a Gray Flycatcher. The current scientific name of the Gray, E. wrightii was the scientific name of the Dusky Flycatcher for many years.
Other Empidonax flycatchers, if they wag their tails, will wag them by jerking them up and then lowering them. A Gray Flycatcher, in contrast, will gently lower its tail, then raise it.
A group of flycatchers has many collective nouns, including an "outfield", "swatting", "zapper", and "zipper" of flycatchers.
The Gray Flycatcher is a small passerine found most often in dry and arid regions of western North America near the Great Basin. Diets of this bird consist of insects foraged in shrubs and low tree branches. Its normal habitat is typically sagebrush areas, pinyon pine and juniper woods, and ponderosa pine forests. Breeding grounds span from southern British Columbia to central Washington, eastern Oregon and California. They also include Nevada, southern Idaho, Utah, northern Arizona, southwestern Wyoming, western Colorado and northwestern New Mexico. It spends winter months in Baja California, southeastern Arizona, central Sonora and central Oaxaca. The conservation rating for the Gray Flycatcher is Least Concern.