Reproductive ecology of Dusky Flycatchers in montane meadows of the central Sierra Nevada Academic Article uri icon


  • Avian species with expansive ranges or those that occupy more than one vegetative association may vary in aspects of their life histories across their ranges. The distribution of Dusky Flycatchers encompasses a variety of vegetative associations, including riparian communities. However, much of the literature on this species details studies conducted in upland areas. Our objectives were to describe the breeding ecology and fecundity of Dusky Flycatchers nesting in montane meadows of the central Sierra Nevada, California. We monitored 36 territories and located 37 Dusky Flycatcher nests in 8 meadows. Average clutch size was 3.9 eggs. Egg laying, incubation, and nestling stages were 4, 15.4, and 16.4 days, respectively. Eighteen nests successfully fledged young, with an average of 3.3 fledglings per successful nest. Nest success was 43% and nest predation was the leading cause of nest failure. Estimated annual fecundity was 1.62 fledglings per pair; however, because all renesting attempts were not located, this should be viewed as the minimum annual fecundity. Dusky Flycatchers we monitored may have had higher fecundity than those nesting in upland areas because riparian areas often have higher arthropod abundances. While the importance of riparian conservation to riparian-obligate bird species is obvious, our study indicates that these areas also may be of value to Dusky Flycatchers that breed in riparian areas and upland areas.

published proceedings

  • Western North American Naturalist

author list (cited authors)

  • Cain, J. W., & Morrison, M. L.

complete list of authors

  • Cain, JW||Morrison, ML

publication date

  • October 2003