no sexual dimorphism; eye-ring, wingbars (California, USA; 2007-04-21)

Hammond's Flycatcher
Empidonax hammondii

Native Range: North America

Notes: this is another in a large group of small-sized Empidonax flycatchers that constitute a "sibling-species" complex, meaning that the species are nearly impossible to tell apart from one another in the field by plumage and morphology alone; instead, identification to a particular species relies on a combination of clues including habitat, subtle plumage features, behaviors in some cases, and especially the species' distinctive songs (which originally gave biologists the best hint that multiple species were present). Especially when breeding, this western species prefers tall conifers whereas its relative the Dusky Flycatcher prefers low chapparal, brush, and small trees.

dorsal view; olive-gray upperparts (California, USA; 2007-04-21)

ventral view; cream-buffy-gray underneath (California, USA; 2007-04-21)

flies after insects and returns to same perch (California, USA; 2007-04-21)

watching for flying insects (California, USA; 2006-04-23)

still atching for insects (California, USA; 2006-04-23)

cutie posing for a portrait (California, USA; 2007-04-21)