Yellow-bellied Flycatcher Video Portrait

June 6, 2010, Adirondack Mountains
near Paul Smiths, New York

An emphatic che-lek! alerted us to the presence of a small flycatcher among spruces and tamaracks next to a wet, boggy area. A quick look revealed that it was a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (as opposed to a Least Flycatcher, which sounds very similar). Luckily, he was a friendly chap and allowed me to get some really nice video clips as he perched on a fallen branch all covered with lichen:

placeholder image for the Yellow-bellied Flycatcher video clip

photo of Yellow-bellied Flycatcher habitat

The Yellow-Bellied Flycatcher breeds in the northern boreal forest, its broad range stretching across Canada from Newfoundland almost to Alaska (see range map below). While che-lek! is its most commonly-heard vocalization, it also produces a rising melodic chu-wee or tu-wee that sounds much like one of the calls of the Eastern Wood Pewee. Other calls are also given, especially during encounters between mates or rivals. Check out the various audio examples featured below:

Typical Song:

Typical song of a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. 5 am, June 15, 2009 in the Adirondack Mountains near Paul Smiths, New York. Recorded by Lang Elliott.

Tu-wee Calls:

Tu-wee calls of a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. May, 1989 in the Adirondack Mountains near Paul Smiths, New York. Recorded by Ted Mack.

Aggressive Burry Calls:

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, aggressive burry calls given during an encounter. 9am, June 7, 2010 in the Adirondack Mountains near Pauls Smiths, New York. Recorded by Bob McGuire.

Calls given during an interaction between mates: (peeh calls and twitters):

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, calls given during an interaction, probably between mates. 10 am, June 9, 2010 in the Adirondack Mountains near Paul Smiths, New York. Recorded by Bob McGuire.

Range map for Yellow-bellied Flycatcherclick for large map with color codes


  1. I just watched your wonderful video. I love to draw birds but in order to draw them well, you need to understand how they move and their body structure. This is such a great video to just watch how his head moves and how his wings and shoulders are connected etc. He is such a lovely little bird anyway. This is a really well done video. Thanks for the opportunity to see him so perfectly.

  2. Excellent videos and recordings! I’ve always wanted to go to Canada and I don’t know why I haven’t! I’ve never seen a Yellow-Bellied Flycatcher, so far. Here in southern Michigan, as you can see on the range map, they’re just a migrant.

    You’re right. Those calls from the Yellow-Bellied Flycatcher sound just like an Eastern Wood-Pewee. Since they’re fairly common in Michigan and I hear them all the time, I’ll have to pay attention to the quality of the calls.

  3. I just saw for the first time the Yellow bellied Flycatcher and tried to photograph it for identification purposes. However it was the song this site provided that in the end positively identified the bird for me! Thank you, this site is beautiful. Irene.

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