A project of

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher

The State of Yellow-bellied Flycatchers

Regionally: Probably Stable

A plot of Yellow-bellied Flycatcher study area abundance. The x axis show years between 2010 and 2021. The y axis shows local population size. Local population size fluctuates between roughly 400 and 500 individuals between 2010 and 2017, then hovers between 350 and 400 individuals from the years 2018 to 2021.

The mean (thick, dark red line) annual estimate of the Yellow-bellied Flycatcher abundance within the immediate areas surrounding ~750 Mountain Birdwatch sampling stations. The lighter vertical bars represent the 95% Bayesian credible interval (a measure of the uncertainty around the abundance estimates).

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher was not one of the original Mountain Birdwatch species monitored between 2000 and 2010, but so little is known about this species that we felt compelled to contribute to the scientific knowledge of the Moss Tyrant. Yellow-bellied Flycatcher populations in our region appear to be stable across the Mountain Birdwatch region (mean annual regional trend = 0.06%, 95% Bayesian credible interval = -1.28% to , 1.44%). Declines are greatest in the Catskills of New York (mean annual regional trend = -3.24%, 95% Bayesian credible interval = -7.99% to , 3.46%) where this species has gone from uncommon (24 individuals detected in 2011) to almost absent (2 individual birds detected in 2019). The North American Breeding Bird survey reports an annual decline of approximately -2.5% and -4.2% for Yellow-bellied Flycatchers in Vermont and New Hampshire respectively, and overall declining trends (-0.2% per year) for the Atlantic Northern Forest (the northeastern U.S. plus Southeast Canada).

Mean annual population trends and population change (with 95% Bayesian credible intervals [CRI]) for Yellow-bellied Flycatcher from 2010 through 2021. An orange dot indicates weak evidence for a negative trend. A blue dot indicates weak evidence for a positive trend.
RegionMean annual
trend (%)
95% CRI
Probability of
Probability of
change (%)
change (95% CRI)
All regions 0.06(-1.28, 1.44)0.460.540.92(-13.21, 17.04)
New York
-0.19(-2.45, 2.28)0.570.43-1.33(-23.89, 28.13)
New York
-3.24(-7.99, 3.46)0.880.12-26.72(-60.00, 45.45)
New York
0.17(-2.15, 2.70)0.440.562.75(-21.27, 34.08)
Vermont -0.23(-2.14, 1.85)0.560.44-1.98(-21.22, 22.31)
New Hampshire 0.06(-1.66, 1.81)0.460.541.09(-16.78, 21.85)
Maine 0.82(-1.37, 3.07)0.220.7810.18(-14.10, 39.51)

Globally: Increasing

The vast majority (>95%) of Yellow-bellied Flycatchers breed in Canada where this species is increasing in numbers, particularly in the northern part of their range. The discovery of new breeding populations recently in eastern Alaska also suggests a global population growing northward. Data collected by the USGS Breeding Bird Survey indicate that populations in the Northeast U.S. and adjacent Canada have been declining at an average rate of ~-0.2% per year. Recent climate modeling predicts that Yellow-bellied Flycatchers will be absent from the lower 48 U.S. states by ~2080, and that 73% of its current breeding range will become unoccupied as this species moves northward.


State of the Mountain Birds