Gray Flycatcher
(Empidonax wrightii)


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

In Canada, the only confirmed breeding of the Gray Flycatcher is in the southern Okanagan Valley of British Columbia (Weber 2015a). The species was unknown in Canada in the early 1970's but the breeding range expanded from Washington into the southern Okanagan Valley from 1984 to 1986 (Cannings 1987, Cannings 1995) and may still be expanding (Weber 2015a). 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)Not at Risk1992 
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Vulnerable2015 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaLarge IncreaseHighAt an Acceptable Level

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada< 1,000 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 late May and ends in early August, depending on the region. Before or after this period, the probability of an active nest is lower.

Conservation and management

In Canada, Gray Flycatchers occur in Ponderosa Pine forests along the east side of the Cascade Mountains (Cannings 1987). Possible threats affecting the species include clear cutting in pine-juniper woodland, compressor noise from gas developments and sagebrush fires (Schlossberg et Sterling 2013). Although the species' population is currently increasing in Canada, these forests are at risk of widespread loss through the current mountain pine beetle epidemic in British Columbia (Westfall and Ebata 2008). The species is blue-listed in British Columbia due to its small population and the limited nature of its breeding habitat where it is restricted to open stands of ponderosa pine up to 15 m in height (B.C. Conservation Data Centre 2018).


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
Great BasinGreat Basin, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon -- Stewardship