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Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Christian Artuso
Photo © Christian Artuso

Photo: Christian Artuso
Breeding evidence - Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Breeding evidence
Probability of observation - Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Probability of observation
Elevation plot - Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Elevation plot

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Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Empidonax flaviventris
Landscape associations:

Click on plot to view table of mean abundance
Elevation range:
278 - 1379 m
Conserv. status:
Not at risk
Global importance
of B.C. population:
7
Number of squares
ConfirmedProbablePossiblePoint counts
8 14 224 165
Long-term BBS trends
RegionYearsTrend (conf. interv.) Reliab.
Brit. Col.1970 - 2012 6.73 (-1.16 - 16.9)Low
Canada1970 - 2012 3.03 (1.39 - 4.67)Low

Mean abundance by region

Bird Conservation Regions [plot]
NW Interior ForestBoreal Taiga PlainsGreat BasinNorthern RockiesN. Pacific Rainforest
0.130.06  0.12  
Ecoprovinces [plot]
N. Boreal Mountains Taiga Plains Boreal Plains Georgia Depression Sub-Boreal Interior
0.120.08 0.05  0.12
S. Interior Mountains Central Interior Southern Interior S. Alaska Mountains Coast & Mountains
0.180.07     

Mean abundance by habitat [plot]

Boreal Altai Fescue AlpineBoreal White and Black SpruceBunchgrassCoastal Douglas-fir
 0.07  
Coastal Mountain-heather AlpineCoastal Western HemlockEngelmann Spruce -- Subalpine FirInterior Cedar -- Hemlock
  0.120.32
Interior Douglas-firInterior Mountain-heather AlpineMontane SpruceMountain Hemlock
    
Ponderosa PineSpruce -- Willow -- BirchSub-Boreal Pine -- SpruceSub-Boreal Spruce
 0.09 0.13

Characteristics and Range The Yellow-bellied Flycatcher is one of the two species of Empidonax in British Columbia with strongly yellowish underparts, the other one being the Pacific-slope Flycatcher. It is a characteristic species of the Boreal Forest, breeding from the eastern slopes of the Pacific coastal mountain ranges to the Atlantic Coast and south to the northern Great Lakes. It is a medium-distance migrant that winters from Mexico south to Panama.

Distribution, Abundance, and Habitat Previously thought to be very thinly distributed in northern and central British Columbia (Campbell et al. 1997), the Atlas shows the Yellow-bellied Flycatcher to be widespread in this area. There are suggestions of a recent southward range expansion in central British Columbia, with records from the Nechako Plateau area and from Mount Robson Park south to Kinbasket Lake, although specimens had been collected from a little farther north in the Bowron Lakes area as long ago as 1929 (Dickinson 1953). This species is probably even more widespread than shown by the Atlas, because it is inconspicuous and often prefers less accessible boggy habitats.

This species has a high Probability of Observation in the Taiga Plains and Boreal Plains ecoprovinces, and lower Pobs values across the Northern Boreal Mountains and Sub-Boreal Interior, which largely agrees with the pattern described by Campbell et al. (1997). However, Atlas point count data suggest that abundance is locally higher in the Northern Boreal Mountains and Sub-Boreal Interior than in the Taiga Plains and Boreal Plains. It is most common at low to mid elevations (250-1,000 m).

The Yellow-bellied Flycatcher uses a variety of habitats, including older, shady spruce forests, dense stands of young coniferous or broad-leaved trees and thickets dominated by spruce (Picea), willow (Salix), alder (Alnus), birch (Betula), and even aspen (Populus), as well as mixed stands. It often inhabits areas in or on the edges of boreal bogs, especially east of the Rocky Mountains, but upland forest stands are also used, including young Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta) forests farther west. One relatively common feature of habitats used is a dense carpet of moss.

Conservation and Recommendations There appear to be no conservation concerns for this species. There are not enough Breeding Bird Survey data for British Columbia to show meaningful trends (there are too few survey routes), but continent-wide data show an apparently stable population over the past five decades (Sauer et al. 2014).

Wayne C. Weber

Recommended citation: Weber, W.C. 2015. Yellow-bellied 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. http://www.birdatlas.bc.ca/accounts/speciesaccount.jsp?sp=YBFL&lang=en [16 Dec 2018]

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