Olive-sided Flycatcher

Contopus cooperi
An Olive-sided Flycatcher specimen on display in the exhibit "Birds of D.C."

A medium-sized (7-8 inches) flycatcher, the Olive-sided Flycatcher is most easily identified by its dark gray back and head, dark chest patches, and white wing tufts. Other field marks include a black bill, black legs, and a shallowly-notched tail. Male and female Olive-sided Flycatchers are similar to one another in all seasons. The Olive-sided Flycatcher occurs widely across central Alaska, Canada, and the northern United States. Smaller numbers breed at higher elevations in the Rocky Mountains south to Baja California and in the Appalachian Mountains south to North Carolina. This species winters from southern Mexico south to Andean South America. In summer, Olive-sided Flycatchers breed in northern evergreen forests, particularly those dominated by spruce, hemlock, or pine trees. On migration, this species may be found in evergreen or deciduous forests elsewhere in North America. Olive-sided Flycatchers spend the winter in humid mountain forests. Like most flycatchers, this species primarily eats insects, which it catches while in flight. In northern forests in summer, the Olive-sided Flycatcher may be most easily observed flying out from high perches to capture insect prey. This species may also be observed on a high perch singing its characteristic ‘quick, THREE BEERS!’ song. Olive-sided Flycatchers are primarily active during the day.

DC Information

Very uncommon migrant in May and in August and September, seen usually in cut-over or burned fields. Sexes are similar.

Specimen Information

Date:  1/5/1892
Collected By:  WP Loue
Locality:  Pueblo Co, Colo
Sex:  Male
Catalog ID:  220679

Distribution Map

distribution map for this species

Bird Vocalization

Sound from xeno-canto. XC70111 Contopus cooperi (Olive-sided Flycatcher)