Skip Navigation

Southwestern Willow Flycatcher


Thumbnail of SW Willow FlycatcherThe southwestern willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus) is a small Neotropical migratory bird that breeds in the arid southwestern United States. It has been federally listed as Endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

The flycatcher’s current range is similar to its historic range; however, the amount of suitable habitat within the range is greatly reduced from historic levels. The flycatcher’s distribution follows that of riparian habitat. It depends upon dense tree and shrub communities associated rivers, swamps and other wetlands, and has become increasingly isolated and widely dispersed as the result of surface water diversion, groundwater pumping, changes in flood and fire regimes, and the establishment of non-native and invasive plants.
The flycatcher nests in native vegetation where available, but also nests in thickets dominated by the non-native invasive species like tamarisk and Russian olive. Efforts to control non-native species can be detrimental to willow flycatchers in mixed and exotic habitats, especially if control projects are Thumbnail of SW Willow Flycatcherimplemented in the absence of suitable native riparian plant habitat of equal or higher functional value.

Working Lands for Wildlife will assist landowners restore degraded riparian ecosystems and conserve existing healthy riparian systems. The program will focus on increasing and improving occupied, suitable, and potential breeding habitat, supporting southwestern willow flycatcher recovery.

Goals and Objectives

Working Lands for Wildlife will assist private landowners protect and restore breeding habitat, combating habitat losses due to surface water diversion and groundwater pumping, changes in flood and fire regimes, and establishment of non-native and invasive plants.

Core Practices

395 Stream Habitat Improvement and Management
643 Restoration and Management of Rare and Declining Habitats  
644 Wetland Wildlife Habitat Management
645 Upland Wildlife Habitat Management


  • Protect, maintain, and restore riparian habitat.
  • Increase and improve occupied, suitable, and potential breeding habitat.
  • Manage livestock grazing to increase habitat quality and quantity.
  • Improve weed and invasive species management.
  • Increase connectivity of existing habitat.
  • Provide public education and outreach.

Outcomes and Impacts

Landowners will enhance, restore and protect habitat for southwestern willow flycatcher, aiding in the implementation of its recovery plan and increase landowner confidence that the conservation practices they implement will not harm the species or its habitat.


The preceeding link takes you off the NRCS websiteUS Fish and Wildlife Page  Proposed Focal Area map (PDF, 427KB)