by Matt Heindel and Peter Pyle

Identifying Empidonax flycatchers has been very difficult for most birders. Indeed, only in the past decade or so has the field identification of this genus become a widespread practice. A series of articles in Birding by Whitney and Kaufman (e.g., 1986), and then Kaufman (1990), helped bring the identification criteria to a larger number of observers. Even with this knowledge, birders should remain conservative in identifying every Empidonax flycatcher they encounter, and should be particularly cautious when claiming one out of range.