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Olive-sided Flycatcher Contopus cooperi


In North America this sturdy looking and highly migratory flycatcher is best known as the species that sings “Quick three beers!” as its territorial vocalization. In much of the east this species is seen as a migrant, as it breeds largely in the Boreal Forest. However, in the West the species is found in various montane forests as well as coastal areas south to California. It is a late arrival in the east, much earlier in the West. They breed and then quite early in the season they disappear to the south, their very sudden departure without much of a migrant concentration south of the breeding areas suggests that this flycatcher performs long non-stop flights on its migrations. During the breeding season, they have a specific habit of perching on tall trees, often at the edge of the forest and they invariably choose a dry, dead branch – a snag in other words. Their love of snags is paramount, and even in migration they often are found on a snag, and even in the winter in the tropics, they find a snag on an emergent tree to perch from. As is typical of pewees, this is after all a large pewee, they sally out to catch an insect and then return to their favorite snag. In the tropics the Olive-sided Flycatcher ranges as far south as Bolivia, and north to Central America; it takes a variety of forested habitats, often in the 500 – 2000 m elevational range.

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© Geoffrey A. Keller

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Olive-sided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: