FAMILY TYRANNIDAE

Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax trailii)


a. Call is a liquid wit (N).


b. Song, fitz'bew, a whistle superimposed on a buzz, 16-28/min (R).

    Distinctive song, a sneezy fitz-bew; often sings during spring migration (N).


c. On breeding grounds, also gives a rising breeet (N).


(Formally combined with Alder Flycatcher and named Traill's Flycatcher.)



Hammond's Flycatcher (Empidonax hammondii)


a. A sharp pic (R).

    A short, sharp click, recognizable as first part of song (but one syllable only).

    Alarm call a bick, heavier than that of other Empidonax flycatchers (F).


b. Male: whit (U,P).

    Suggests Yellow-Rumped (Audubon's) Warbler, but softer.


c. Female: tweep (P).

    Peep, similar to that of Pygmy Nuthatch (U).

   Sometimes given repeatedly, about 50-60/min.

    Heep (F).


d. Song: low-pitched, of three parts,

      Se-lip, twur, treeip (P).

      Seput, pgrrrt, treeip (R).

    Song very emphatic, most notes low and burry, without clear slides; sebit! djurrp!, djurreet! (sequence somewhat varied) (F).

    Song resembles Dusky's but hoarser, more emphatic (N).


The song of this species is almost identical to that of the Dusky Flycatcher, but has a much "heavier" or "rougher" quality. The whit note (b) can be mistaken at a distance for a Western Flycatcher note, but is not as "clean" or sharp in quality.



Dusky Flycatcher (Empidonax oberholseri)


a. A soft whit (R,F).  Example 1, example 2, example 3.

    Very similar to that of the Hammond's Flycatcher.


b. A 2-syllable see-lick, recognizable as first part of song.


c. A musical du-hic or du du-hic; the hic part being higher pitched and very quick. Diagnostic. Territorial.

    Especially in late morning or late afternoon, mournful sharp deew,deew,deew-whip! (number of both note types variable) (F).

A sharp high-pitched pew-whit or pee-wick (L).


d. Song: often of parts,

      Clip wee zee, the zee note the highest (P).

      Cheepit chuwee cheepit pseet, no particular sequence (R).

    Song combines snappy, burry, and clear ascending notes: sabit!, djuree! pswee! (sequence somewhat varied) (F).

    Song has 3 or 4 phrases: a clear sillit; a lower tsurrp; another high sillit, often omitted; and a clear, high seet (N).

    A jerky see-pit, tsee-ee, see-week, similar to the song of the Hammond's flycatcher, but with the middle part double-noted and higher in pitch (L).


The song is very similar to that of the Hammond's Flycatcher, but has a "lighter" and somewhat "drier" (less "burry" [F]) quality.



Pacific-Slope Flycatcher (previously, Western Flycatcher) (Empidonax difficilis)


a. Male: a sharp, lisping pseet? or seest? with rising inflection (P).

    Whee-see (R).

    Male's call note a rising whistle, pawee! (coastal forms) (F).

    Pe-seet?, pe-seet? First phrase of song (e, below).


b. Abbreviated song: A variation on the above call, a thin, quick-whistled see-o-wheet, the last syllable with a rising inflection, like the whistle given to call a dog.


c. Female's note a very high and short see (F).


d. A high-pitched, very sharp, somewhat musical tic. May be two-syllabled, the first being much softer than the second and not easy to hear at a distance.

    A sharp metallic chip or ting (L).


e. Song: often three-parted:

    Pseet-trip-seet! (seet highest in pitch; listen to example below); arrangement varies (P).

    Pchip, ee, pcheewee (R).

    Song consists entirely of high, thin, squeaky whistles and snappy notes: pe-see! pit-tic, see (the phrase pit-tic can only follow pe-see!, and is often omitted in slow and halting song). All other western empids have burry, rough, or lower notes in songs. (F)

    A series of single, up-slurred suwheet notes, often interrupted with pik notes.

    A rising series of 3 detached notes, as tsee-dick, tseep, tsee-eet, the last note slurred upward; often repeated several times and modified, as tsee-eet, tsee-tick, tseep, tsee-eet, tsik, tsee-eet, etc.

    Also, ptic, tsic, tsawheet.


The song and calls of the Western Flycatcher differ from those of Hammond's and Dusky Flycatchers in that the Western's are very high-pitched and have a sharper, "cleaner" quality (purer in tone). All vocalizations except "d" above carry 100-200 m; these are all soft sounds but they travel well because of their high-pitched whistle quality.



Western Wood-Pewee (Contopus sordidulus)


a. A nasal, buzzy peeeer, descending in pitch (P).

    Call a burry, slightly descending pheeer, or a more emphatic pheeer-reet, given every 5-10 seconds, often with longer pauses between phrases (F).

    Abbreviation of song.

    A mild melancholy descending pee-eer or a hoarse phee-ee or pee-ah-wee (L).

    Sometimes doesn't descend as much: peeyee (P) or pee-wee (U).


b. Song: A long, continuous sequence of emphatic pheer-reet calls, alternated with less harsh, somewhat rolling, 3-syllable phee-rr-reet, repeated without interruption (F).

    A slurred hee-za-wip, purr-dee, rises on the first phrase and falls on the second (L).



Olive-Sided Flycatcher (Contopus borealis)


a. A trebled pip-pip-pip (P,R), example 2.

    Also given in two's (L).


b. Song: a loud, spirited, melodious whistle: quick-three-beers!, middle note highest, last sliding (P).

    Whip-three-beers, 6-10/min (R).

    A loud ringing pip-pee-up,pew or whi-whee-whew (L).


Above song and call are very audible, especially as birds commonly vocalize from tall tree perches along clearings; carry 200-250 m or more.



Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis)


a. A sharp whit or whit-ker-whit (P).

    Call is a sharp whit (N).

    Calls are less rasping than Eastern Kingbird's (R).


b. Shrill, bickering calls (P).




                       FAMILY HIRUNDINIDAE


Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)


a. A soft silip or seery (L).

    A cheet or chi-veet (P).

    Variations on a liquid chweet (U).

    A pleasing, liquid, twittering klweet (R).


b. A liquid twitter (P).


c. Song: weet, trit, weet, repeated with variations (P).



Violet-Green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina)

a. A thin chip or chit chit (P).

    A sharp chee-cheet (L).

    A high chip-chip (F).

b. A rapid chit-chit-chit wheet wheet (P).

    A twittering tsee-tseet-tseet-tselt-tseet (L).

c. A high dee-chip given in flight (U).


d. A series of varying tweet notes (U).


e. A twitter (P).


f. A yip or yeep like a lost baby chick (L).


Calls often have an echoing quality. Calls (d) and (e) may be various interpretations of call (b).



Northern Rough-Winged Swallow (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)


a. A harsh trrit, rougher than Bank Swallow's (P).

    Low, unmusical br-r-ret, more drawn out than that of Bank Swallow, and often doubled (U).

    A rough, rasping, rather hard brrrtt, often repeated several times (F).

    A sharp prit, preet or pree-eep (L).



Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)


a. A short sharp kvit, kvik-kvik, with a dry rattling of the bill (L).

    A soft vit or kvik-kvik, vit-vit (P).

    Sharp pit-vik (U).

    A soft wit or wit,wit, frequently given in flight (F).


b. About nest, a harsh, irritated ee-tee or keet (P).

    An emphatic keet-ik; alarm note (L).


c. A clear, excited slip, slip or tsi, tsuh (F).


d. Song: a long musical twitter interspersed with gutterals (P).

    A series of soft twittering notes (U).

    A complex, energetic series of emphatic, clear notes: sip,sip,sip,sip, interspersed with long, rather harsh, twittering rattle, often given incessantly (F).



Cliff Swallow (Hirundo pyrrhonota)


a. A low chur (P,L).

    Quite different than the notes of other swallows (U).

    A low chrrr (F).


b. Alarm note, keer (P).

    A nasal nyew (F).


c. Song: creaking notes and guttural gratings; harsher than Barn Swallow's song (P).

    Often given in flight; a harsh series of squeaking and grating notes (F).

    The dry twittering, sound like the squeaking of a rusty door, is distinctive (L).