Cordilleran Flycatcher
(Empidonax occidentalis)


Picture of bird
© Jukka Jantunen (
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

The "Western" Flycatcher complex was split into Cordilleran and Pacific-slope Flycatchers in 1989 (American Ornithologists' Union 1989). The breeding range of the Cordilleran Flycatcher in Canada remains imperfectly known, and it is difficult to separate observations of the two species. Thus, it is not currently possible to measure changes in the Canadian population of the Cordilleran Flycatcher. The "Western" Flycatcher expanded its range east and north in British Columbia starting in the mid-1940s (Campbell et al. 1997), with the first record for Alberta in 1954 (Semenchuk 1992). Recent genetic studies indicate that birds in the interior of British Columbia and Alberta are intergrades between the two species (Rush et al. 2009).


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Apparently secure2015 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaData DeficientData DeficientData Deficient

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada50,000 - 500,000 adults

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Long-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population

General nesting period in Canada

Nesting period starts between early June and mid-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. These estimates cover the periods of the Cordilleran Flycatcher and the Pacific-slope Flycatcher.

Conservation and management

"Western" Flycatchers in Alberta and the British Columbia interior are strongly associated with coniferous forests along creeks, rivers and lakeshores (Campbell et al. 1997, Lowther 2000). The long-term decline in the United States is cause for concern. There have been reports of declines from "cleaning up" by removing downed trees and brush which has resulted in local extirpation (Lowther 2000). Otherwise, causes are not well understood. Further research is necessary to determine the range and status of both Cordilleran and Pacific-slope Flycatchers in Canada.


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