Flycatchers are songbirds that feed mostly on insects that are caught on the wing, including all kinds of flies, as well as insects such as moths, butterflies, crickets, bees, beetles, grasshoppers, wasps, and even spiders and caterpillars. Flycatchers are common worldwide, but here in North America, we are home to a family of Tyrant (New World) flycatchers. These birds make up the largest family of birds in the world, with over 425 species identified.
In Minnesota, there are records of up to 19 of those flycatcher species, though less than a dozen are likely to frequent our state in a given year.
Identifying flycatchers can be tricky—their coloring, shapes and sizes can be quite similar. However, their hunting territories, songs/calls and behaviors can all be helpful as aids in identification.
Below are 5 of Minnesota’s most common species of flycatchers, with some tips on how to see them—and even find them in your own backyards.