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Hammond's Flycatcher, Dusty Veideman
Photo © Dusty Veideman

Photo: Dusty Veideman
Breeding evidence - Hammond's Flycatcher
Breeding evidence
Probability of observation - Hammond's Flycatcher
Probability of observation
Elevation plot - Hammond's Flycatcher
Elevation plot

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Hammond's Flycatcher
Empidonax hammondii
Landscape associations:

Click on plot to view table of mean abundance
Elevation range:
0 - 1861 m
Conserv. status:
Not at risk
Global importance
of B.C. population:
Number of squares
ConfirmedProbablePossiblePoint counts
110 408 1390 1176
Long-term BBS trends
RegionYearsTrend (conf. interv.) Reliab.
Brit. Col.1970 - 2012 1.27 (0.114 - 3.47)Medium
Canada1973 - 2012 1.36 (0.179 - 3.71)Medium

Mean abundance by region

Bird Conservation Regions [plot]
NW Interior ForestBoreal Taiga PlainsGreat BasinNorthern RockiesN. Pacific Rainforest
0.190.06 0.170.24 0.27
Ecoprovinces [plot]
N. Boreal Mountains Taiga Plains Boreal Plains Georgia Depression Sub-Boreal Interior
0.190.08 0.030.22 0.25
S. Interior Mountains Central Interior Southern Interior S. Alaska Mountains Coast & Mountains
0.270.16 0.16  0.3

Mean abundance by habitat [plot]

Boreal Altai Fescue AlpineBoreal White and Black SpruceBunchgrassCoastal Douglas-fir
Coastal Mountain-heather AlpineCoastal Western HemlockEngelmann Spruce -- Subalpine FirInterior Cedar -- Hemlock
Interior Douglas-firInterior Mountain-heather AlpineMontane SpruceMountain Hemlock
0.17 0.220.2
Ponderosa PineSpruce -- Willow -- BirchSub-Boreal Pine -- SpruceSub-Boreal Spruce

Characteristics and Range The Hammond's Flycatcher is often confused by birders with the similar-looking Dusky Flycatcher; both are widespread and rather common flycatchers of forested habitats, and overlap considerably in habitat preference. Although there are similarities in the songs of the two, once learned they can be readily and reliably distinguished. The Hammond's Flycatcher is a western North American species, breeding in conifer forest from Alaska's Brooks Mountains to the southern Rocky Mountains and Sierra Nevada. It spends the winter in the Mexican Sierra Madre and south in the mountains to Nicaragua.

Distribution, Abundance, and Habitat The Hammond's Flycatcher breeds through most of the province, including the coastal slope where the Dusky Flycatcher is largely absent. There has been no significant change in range from that shown by Campbell et al. (1997), but the Atlas has filled many distribution gaps in northern British Columbia. It appears to reach its northeastern range limit along the Fort Nelson River valley in the Taiga Plains. Whilst migrants are recorded on Haida Gwaii in spring, there is no proof of breeding there

The Probability of Observation and abundance values for this species are highest in the Southern Interior Mountains, Georgia Depression, and Sub-Boreal Interior ecoprovinces. This expands on Campbell et al. (1997), who singled out the Southern Interior Mountains as supporting the highest numbers. The Hammond's Flycatcher appears to have a particular affinity for the Interior Cedar-Hemlock and Coastal Western Hemlock biogeoclimatic zones, which have the highest abundance values. It occurs commonly at all altitudes from sea level to 1,500 m, but is most abundant between 750 and 1,250 m.

This species occupies a variety of forest types, including both coniferous and mixed, but prefers mature or old-growth stands with a continuous canopy. It is common in Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) stands, in mid-elevation stands dominated by spruce (Picea) and fir (Abies) species, in lower-elevation coastal forests, and in riparian stands where tall cottonwood (Populus) species are mixed with spruces or other conifers. However, it does not usually breed in open Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) forest, or in upper-elevation subalpine forests.

Conservation and Recommendations Breeding Bird Survey data indicate stable or slightly increasing populations of this species over the last 50 years, both continent-wide and in British Columbia (Sauer et al. 2014). No conservation concerns have been expressed about Hammond's Flycatcher.

Wayne C. Weber

Recommended citation: Weber, W.C. 2015. Hammond's Flycatcher in Davidson, P.J.A., R.J. Cannings, A.R. Couturier, D. Lepage, and C.M. Di Corrado (eds.). The Atlas of the Breeding Birds of British Columbia, 2008-2012. Bird Studies Canada. Delta, B.C. [14 Jul 2024]

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