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Willow Flycatcher


Willow FlycatcherThe Willow Flycatcher is present in patches of wetland habitat in the Rocky Mountains and Foothills of Alberta. Because of a lack of study, population size and trends have not been accurately determined. Population size is likely low and Breeding Bird Survey data indicate a decline in numbers. The possible limiting factors for the Willow Flycatcher include loss of habitat from human disturbance and cattle grazing, productivity losses from Brown-headed Cowbird parasitism, and competition with Alder Flycatchers.

The lack of information about the Willow Flycatcher in Alberta is currently the greatest weakness in asserting its status in the province. The Alberta population constitutes a tiny fraction of the continental population. From a biological perspective, it is significant that the most northerly populations of this species are in Alberta and British Columbia and that no assessment of the genetic distinctness of northern populations has been made. Although the Willow Flycatcher does not appear to be in imminent danger of extirpation in the province, the biggest area of concern is that of habitat loss. Significant amounts of Willow Flycatcher habitat could be unknowingly destroyed and management plans must consider this.

Reprinted from Alberta Wildlife Status Report No. 29 (2001), with permission from Alberta Sustainable Resource Development.

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