A 13-cm-long bird with a relatively large head, gray (sometimes olive-tinged) dorsum (browner in juveniles), bold white eye ring, two white wing bars (buffy in juveniles), whitish throat, gray-washed breast, yellowish belly and undertail coverts (whitish in juveniles), and a short, flattened triangular bill (lower mandible mostly pale). See Whitney and Kaufmann (1985) for further details on identification. Song is a dry "che-bek
", accented on the second syllable.
For a comprehensive review of the conservation status, habitat use, and ecology of this and other Montana bird species, please see Marks et al. 2016, Birds of Montana.
Western Hemisphere Range
Semi-open, second-growth, and mature deciduous and mixed woods; occasionally conifer groves, burns, swamp and bog edges, orchards, and shrubby fields. Often found near open spaces such as forest clearings and edges, water, roads, and cottage clearings (Peck and James 1983).
Feeds almost exclusively on insects caught by hawking from the air or gleaned from foliage of trees and shrubs. Fruits and seeds taken occasionally (Briskie 1994).
Nest is a neat compact cup, generally not protected or only partially protected by surrounding vegetation. Eggs are ovate. Unmarked, yellowish-white or creamy white, but not glossy. Clutch size ranges 3 to 5; most often 4 eggs (Briskie 1994). Least Flycatchers nest in June.