Eastern Wood-pewee

eastern wood-pewee, Credit: Kelly Colgan-Azar CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Special Concern Nationally


• Small forest bird, up to 15 centimetres long
• Greyish-olive upper parts; pale on under parts; pale wing bars
• Distinctive three-part song: “pee-ah-wee”
• Eats insects


• In Canada, ranges from Saskatchewan to Nova Scotia
• Mostly found in southern and central Ontario, and as far north as Red Lake, Lake Nipigon and Timmins


• Habitat loss and degradation
• Decline in insect prey


• Federally protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994
• Not protected under the Endangered Species Act, 2007 or under the Species at Risk Act, 2002


From 1970 to 2011, the Breeding Bird Survey showed a decline of over 70 percent for eastern wood-pewee in Canada, with a 25 percent decline between 2001 and 2011.

eastern wood-pewee, Credit: Glen Peterson CC BY-NC 2.0


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  1. November 6, 2015    

    […] Eastern Wood-pewee (Contopus virens) […]

  2. November 18, 2015    

    […] Eastern Wood-pewee (Contopus virens) […]

  3. David T Kalbach David T Kalbach
    June 13, 2017    

    The pictured bird is an Olive-sided Flycatcher

  4. June 13, 2017    

    Hi David,

    Thanks very much for spotting this easy-to-miss oversight. Olive-sided flycatchers have more rounded beaks, and more grey wingbars than the eastern wood-pewee. The Eastern wood-pewee also has a bright eye-ring, bright wingbars and a more pointed beak than the olive-sided flycatcher.

    We will correct the photos today.


    ON Noah

  5. Margo Phair Margo Phair
    October 9, 2017    

    I have a flycatcher in a moss nest on my window sill it has not left yet ?? It come back to the nest every night , Is this unusual ?? Shouldnt it be gone by now for the winter ?

  6. October 10, 2017    

    Hi Margo,

    This is somewhat unusual. This year, as a result of warmer temperatures, some birds including warblers and some flycatchers delayed their migration and are now heading south to overwinter in warmer climates.

    ON Noah

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