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Eastern Wood-Pewee Contopus virens


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Eastern Wood-Pewee
credit: Jim Conrad

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Tyrannidae, Tyrant Flycatchers view all from this family

Description ADULT Has dark gray-brown upperparts overall. Wings and tail are mostly blackish, but note pale wing bars and pale fringes to secondaries and tertials. Underparts are gray-brown overall, palest on throat and grading to whitish on belly and vent. JUVENILE Similar, but brighter-looking with buffy wing bars and fringes to inner flight feathers.

Dimensions Length: 6 1/2" (17 cm)

Habitat Widespread, but declining, summer visitor (mainly May-Sep) to open woodland. Winters in South America.

Observation Tips Easy to see.

Range Florida, Plains, Great Lakes, Western Canada, New England, Mid-Atlantic, Rocky Mountains, Southeast, Texas, Eastern Canada

Voice Call is a trisyllabic pee-err-wee.

Discussion Slimmer and longer-tailed than Olive-sided Flycatcher, with more striking wing bars and uniform olive-brown breast (without central white line bordered by dark "waistcoat"). Compared to Willow and Alder Flycatchers, darker overall, with less striking wing bars and relatively longer wings (extend well beyond rump when perched). Legs are dark and bill is mostly dark, but with dull orange base to lower mandible. Makes aerial sorties after flying insects, from perch at mid tree level (lower than Olive-sided Flycatcher). Sexes are similar.