Empidonax wrightii

Status:   Rare casual spring and fall migrant west.

Documentation: Description: 17 May 1999 Oliver Reservoir, Kimball Co (Dinsmore et al 2000, Jorgensen 2001).

Taxonomy:   No subspecies are recognized (Pyle 1997).

Spring: There is one accepted record:

17 May 1999 Oliver Reservoir, fresh spring plumage (cited above)

The sole Kansas specimen was collected in Morton Co, Kansas 29 Apr 1967 (Thompson et al 2011), and there is one eastern Colorado record 1 May 2011 in Bent Co (CBRC). One at Oliver Reservoir, Kimball Co 22 May 2016 that was reported as wagging its tail (Silcock 2016) was not accepted by NOURC as description was “insufficient to rule out other species” (Brogie 2017).

Fall: The three sightings in 2002 at Oliver Reservoir may have been of the same bird but were at different locations. Fall of 2002 saw easterly reports from southeast Wyoming and eastern Colorado at the same time the 2002 sightings were made in Kimball Co, Nebraska.

24 Aug 2002 Oliver Reservoir, Kimball Co (Brogie 2003)

25 Aug 2020 Old Stage Road, Scotts Bluff Co (Mlodinow,

31 Aug 2002 Oliver Reservoir, Kimball Co (Brogie 2003)

27 Aug 2007 Wind Springs Ranch, Sioux Co (Silcock 2007)

2 Sep 2018 Oliver Reservoir, Kimball Co (Willison, Rink, Raynor;; Brogie 2019)

4 Sep 2002 Oliver Reservoir, Kimball Co (Silcock 2002)

6-7 Sep 2013 Wind Springs Ranch, Sioux Co (Silcock 2013,

18 Sep 2013 East Ash Creek, Dawes Co (

5 Oct 2004 Robidoux Pass, Scotts Bluff Co (Silcock 2004).

Comments: Gray Flycatcher breeds in Colorado and Wyoming; it has undergone a “massive” range expansion northward in Wyoming, especially since about 1980 (Faulkner 2010) and might be expected to occur more often in spring and fall in Nebraska, and possibly even breed.

A report 2 Oct 2020 at Swanson Reservoir, Hitchcock Co was not accepted by NOURC.


CBRC: Colorado Bird Records Committee


Photograph (top) of a Gray Flycatcher at Oliver Reservoir Recreation Area, Kimball Co 2 Sep 2018 by Michael Willison.

Literature Cited

Brogie, M.A. 2003. 2002 (14th) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 71: 136-142.

Brogie, M.A. 2017. 2016 (28th) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 85: 128-142.

Brogie, M.A. 2019. 2018 (30th) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 87: 96-109.

Colorado Bird Records Committee [CBRC]. 2017.  Gray Flycatcher records.  Colorado Bird Records Committee database, accessed 18 February 2018.

Dinsmore, S.J., L. Padelford, and B. Padelford. 2000. Gray Flycatcher at Oliver Reservoir. NBR 68: 46-47.

Faulkner, D.W. 2010. Birds of Wyoming. Roberts and Company, Greenwood Village, Colorado, USA.

Jorgensen, J.G. 2001. 1999 (Eleventh) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 69: 85-91.

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

Silcock, W.R. 2002. Fall Field Report. August-November 2002. NBR 70: 130-167.

Silcock, W.R. 2004. Fall Field report, August-November 200. NBR 72: 130-158.

Silcock, W.R. 2007. Fall Field Report, August-November 2007. NBR 75: 98-118.

Silcock, W.R. 2013. Fall Field Report, August-November 2013. NBR 81: 134-160.

Silcock, W.R. 2016. Spring Field Report, Mar 2016 to May 2016. NBR 84: 58- 85.

Thompson, M.C., C.A. Ely, B. Gress, C. Otte, S.T. Patti, D. Seibel, and E.A. Young. 2011. Birds of Kansas.  University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, USA.

Recommended Citation

Silcock, W.R., and J.G. Jorgensen. 2021.  Gray Flycatcher (Empidonax wrightii). In Birds of Nebraska — Online.

Birds of Nebraska – Online

Updated 29 May 2021