Acadian Flycatcher
(Empidonax virescens)


Picture of bird
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In Canada, the Acadian Flycatcher occurs in very low numbers in the Carolinian area of southern Ontario, where it is at the northern limit of its breeding range. Results from the Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario and the Acadian Flycatcher/Hooded Warbler Recovery Team indicate that the distribution remained relatively stable between the 1990s and 2007 and on-going surveys by Bird Studies Canada (unpublished data) show that the population remains relatively stable through 2017. The species was listed as Endangered under the Species at Risk Act in 2003 (and reassessed as such in 2010 by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada; COSEWIC 2010h) because of its small population and threats to habitat. Conservation concerns are high because there is relatively little suitable habitat remaining for the species. This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
COSEWIC (Canada)Endangered2010 
SARA (Canada)Endangered2003 
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Imperiled2015 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaLittle ChangeHighBelow Acceptable Level

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada< 500 adults

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Long-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population
CanadaVery Low

General nesting period in Canada

Nesting period starts in early June and ends between early August and mid-August, depending on the region. Before or after this period, the probability of an active nest is lower.

Conservation and management

The main limiting factor for the Acadian Flycatcher in Canada is the small amount of suitable Carolinian forest that still exists in southern Ontario (Martin 2007). The Acadian Flycatcher is a habitat specialist requiring mature, undisturbed, deciduous forest and occurs in both large (>40 ha) woodlands and forested ravines. The main threats are logging practices in remaining forest that are incompatible with maintaining the species, as well as the continuing loss of these remnant forest areas (Martin 2007, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources 2011). Residential development in or adjacent to woodlots, and some farm-related activities (e.g., draining swamps) can have negative consequences for sensitive wildlife like the Acadian Flycatcher. The negative impact of invasive plants and non-native insects were identified as a concern by the Recovery Team. Ongoing deforestation in the Neotropics is expected to affect the species in their wintering range as mature forests become more and more scarce (Allen et al. 2017). Currently, the Ontario population is likely augmented by periodic immigration from the core range in the United States which extends as far north as Pennsylvania and Ohio and in which the population appears to be stable. For information on the legal status of this species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) and to view the Recovery Strategy, see the SARA Registry.


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type
Lower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence PlainLower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Plain, sub-region and priority type: Ontario -- Conservation