Empidonax oberholseri

Status:  Rare casual spring migrant west. Uncommon regular fall migrant west and central.

Documentation:  Photographs, measurements: 31 Aug 2000 Oliver Res (Dinsmore 2000; Dinsmore and Silcock 2001).

Taxonomy: No subspecies are recognized (Pyle 1997).

SpringRecent reports suggest this species may be a regular spring migrant in the western Panhandle; it breeds fairly commonly as a disjunct population in the Black Hills of South Dakota (Tallman et al 2002, Drilling et al 2018). The three Jun records cited below suggest breeding might not be unexpected on the Pine Ridge.

There are 20 accepted Nebraska records, all since 2000:

30 Apr 2018 Lake McConaughy, Keith Co (MB et al, recording, https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S45129747)

9 May 2001 Oliver Reservoir, Kimball Co (Silcock 2001 )

13 May 2017 Rock Creek SRA, Dundy Co (Willison 2017a,  Silcock 2017)

15 May 2017 Oliver Reservoir (Willison 2017b, Silcock 2017)

15 May 2020 Oliver Reservoir photographed (Mlodinow, eBird.org)

16 May 2008 Oliver Reservoir (Silcock 2008)

17 May 2002 Oliver Reservoir (Silcock 2002)

17 May 2004 Gering, Scotts Bluff Co (Silcock 2004)

17 May 2017 four at Chadron SP, Dawes Co (Willison, eBird.org; Silcock 2017)

22 May 2016 Exit 1 on I-80 Kimball Co (Willison 2016)

22 May 2021 Oliver Reservoir, Kimball Co (eBird.org)

24 May 2021 two Greenwood Cemetery, Cheyenne Co (eBird.org)

25-26 May 2004 Oliver Reservoir (Silcock 2004)

25 May Oliver Reservoir, Kimball Co (eBird.org)

25 May 2021 Gering Cemetery, Scotts Bluff Co (eBird.org)

25 May 2021 Sowbelly Canyon, Sioux Co (eBird.org)

28 May 2020 Sowbelly Canyon, Sioux Co (Mlodinow, eBird.org)

8 Jun 2015 between East and West Ash Creeks, Dawes Co (Birek, eBird, https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S39525955)

14 Jun 2019 Gilbert-Baker WMA, Sioux Co (Mlodinow, eBird.org)

15 Jun 2013 Carter Canyon, Scotts Bluff Co (Brogie 2014).

FallAug 24, 25, 25 <<<>>> Sep 20, 20, 20

Earlier dates are 9 Aug 2020 (2) at Rock Creek SRA, Dundy Co (eBird.org), 24 Aug 2001 Kimball Co, and 24 Aug 2019 Sioux Co.

Later dates are 24 Sep 2013 Dawes Co, and 8 Oct 2019 at Lake Ogallala, Keith Co (Mlodinow, eBird.org).

About 19 were reported 9 Aug-20 Sep 2020, east to Keith and Dundy Cos.

Mist-netting during the fall of 2000 provided the first tangible evidence that this species is a regular migrant in the Panhandle. Singles were captured, measured, and photographed at Oliver Reservoir 31 Aug, 7 Sep, and 20 Sep (Dinsmore 2000, Dinsmore and Silcock 2001, Jorgensen 2002). During the same fall there were three additional sight records: one “probable” at Oliver Reservoir 2-3 Sep, one at Mud Springs, Morrill Co 11 Sep (Jorgensen 2002), and one at Wind Springs Ranch, Sioux Co 20 Sep (Jorgensen 2002).

A Hatch Year bird was banded and photographed at Chadron SP 24 Sep 2013 (Brogie 2014), and another was banded, measured, and photographed there 10 Sep 2014 (Brogie 2015). One was netted at Oliver Reservoir 24 Aug 2001 and another at Wind Springs Ranch, Sioux Co 25 Aug 2001.

Comments: Out of a total of 138 Dusky Flycatchers banded at Barr Lake, Colorado, only three were banded in spring, 18-20 May, and the remaining 135 in fall, 15 Aug-10 Oct, including only eight adults (latest 26 Sep; Andrews et al 2002 ). As many as 55% of fall Empidonax flycatchers banded at Barr Lake in eastern Colorado were Dusky Flycatchers (Tony Leukering, personal communication).


SP: State Park
SRA: State Recreation Area


Photograph (top) of a Dusky Flycatcher at Rock Creek SRA, Dundy Co 13 May 2017 by Michael Willison.

Literature Cited

Andrews, R., R. Righter, M. Carter, T. Leukering, and A. Banks. 2002. Birds of Barr Lake and Surrounding Areas 1888 through 1999. Ornithological Monograph No. 1. Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory, Brighton, Colorado, USA.

Brogie, M.A. 2014. 2013 (25th) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 82: 131-146.

Brogie, M.A. 2015. 2014 (26th) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 83: 125-138.

Dinsmore, S.J. 2000. Mist netting at Oliver State Recreation Area. NBR 68: 177-179.

Dinsmore, S.J., and W.R. Silcock. 2001. First confirmed records of Dusky Flycatcher for Nebraska. NBR
69: 33-35.

Drilling, N.E., E.D Stukel, R.A. Sparks, and B.J. Woiderski. 2018. The Second Atlas of Breeding Birds of South Dakota. SDGFP, Wildlife Division Report 2017-02. South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks, Pierre.

Jorgensen, J.G. 2002. 2002 (sic; =2000). (12th) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 70: 84-90.

Jorgensen, J.G. 2003. 2001 (13th) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 71: 97-102.

Pyle, P. 1997. Identification Guide to North American Birds. Part I, Columbidae to Ploceidae. Slate Creek Press, Bolinas, California, USA.

Silcock, W.R. 2001. Spring Field Report, March to May 2001. NBR 69: 46-79.

Silcock. W.R. 2002. Spring Field Report, March-May 2002. NBR 70: 46-84.

Silcock, W.R. 2004. Spring Field Report, March-May 2004. NBR 72: 38-58.

Silcock, W.R. 2008. Spring Field Report, Mar-May 2008. NBR 76: 50-71.

Silcock, W.R. 2017. Spring Field report, March-May 2017. NBR 85: 54-83.

Tallman, D.A., Swanson, D.L., and J.S. Palmer. 2002. Birds of South Dakota. Midstates/Quality Quick Print, Aberdeen, South Dakota, USA.

Willison, M. 2016.  Checklist S31517813: Pine Bluffs–exit 1, Kimball County, Nebraska, US. eBird.org, accessed 4 Jun 2018.

Willison, M. 2017a.  Checklist S36824534:  Rock Creek SRA, Dundy County, Nebraska, US.  eBird.org, accessed 4 Jun 2018.

Willison, M. 2017b.  Checklist S36896453: Oliver Reservoir SRA, Kimball County, Nebraska, US.  eBird.org, accessed 4 Jun 2018.

Recommended Citation

Silcock, W.R., and J.G. Jorgensen. 2021.  Dusky Flycatcher (Empidonax oberholseri). In Birds of Nebraska — Online. www.BirdsofNebraska.org

Birds of Nebraska – Online

Updated 4 Jun 2021