Contopus sordidulus x virens
Status: Rare regular breeder northcentral.
Summer: Hybridization between Eastern and Western wood-pewees has been rarely documented due to minimal range overlap and extreme similarity of plumages and measurements (Rising and Schueler 1980), although putative hybrids were identified by vocalizations in northeastern Colorado (Mlodinow, https://ebird.org/checklist/S57321832) and songs with the pattern of Eastern Wood-Pewee but tonal quality of Western Wood-Pewee were heard in eastern Cherry Co 21 May 1989 (Grzybowski 1989, Ducey 1989).
In Nebraska, the ranges of the two species overlap in the eastern Niobrara River Valley (Ducey 1989) and along the North Platte River in extreme southeastern Garden and western Keith Cos (Sharpe et al 2001). Manthey and Robbins (2016) found that Western Wood-Pewee occurred mostly in Ponderosa pine areas while Eastern Wood-Pewee was in riparian woodland. Nevertheless, these authors found that there is a very narrow contact zone between the two and were able to provide the first genomic evidence that hybridization does indeed occur between the two species. It was thought that because gene flow was relatively minimal, contact was recent; there was little or no evidence for assortative mating.
Ducey, J.E. 1989. Birds of the Niobrara River Valley, Nebraska. Transactions of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences 27: 37-60.
Grzybowski, J.A. 1989. Southern Great Plains Region. American Birds 43: 499-501.
Manthey, J.D., and M.B. Robbins. 2016. Genomic insights into hybridization in a localized region of sympatry between pewee sister species (Contopus sordidulus × C. virens) and their chromosomal patterns of differentiation. Avian Research 7: 6-8. DOI 10.1186/s40657-016-0040-7.
Rising, J.D., and F.W. Schueler. 1980. Identification and status of wood-pewees (Contopus) from the Great Plains: what are sibling species? Condor 82: 301-308.
Silcock, W.R., and J.G. Jorgensen. 2022. Western x Eastern Wood-Pewee (hybrid) (Contopus sordidulus x virens). In Birds of Nebraska — Online. www.BirdsofNebraska.org
Updated 23 Mar 2022