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Length: 12.5cm (5in); weight: 12g. Adult: sexes similar; greenish-olive above; blackish wings with ochraceous-buff wing-bars; breast ochraceous yellow, fading to yellow in the belly; prominent eye-ring very pale yellow, broader behind the eye as in the Black-capped Flycatcher; upper mandible black, lower orangey; legs are gray. Young: browner above, paler yellow below, with belly almost white; wing-bars are cinnamon-orange. Despite the name, adults are overall a brighter yellow than the Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (Empidonax flaviventris), a migrant flycatcher, which breeds in Canada and extreme NE USA and winters in Central America.
There are three subspecies:
Cool cloud forests of the mountains, between 800m (2600ft) and 2450m (8000ft). Frequents edges, openings, clearings, shady pastures and second growth.
Sallies forth from a perch to catch insects, gleans them from foliage and bark while hovering, and also drops to the ground for insects and spiders; sometimes eats berries. Usually seen alone outside of the breeding season. Breeds from March to June, building a deep cup of mosses and liverworts, lined with plant fibers and horsehair. The nest is placed 2-4.5m (6-15ft) up, in a crevice in big tree trunks, an earthen bank or cliff. Voice: dawnsong during the breeding season, a seee seee chit, about 20 times per minute; otherwise a thin high-pitched tseeep.
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