How to idenitify Empidonax flycatchers and Pine Squrriels

I’m having trouble Identifying many of my flycatcher species and the pine squirrels. If anyone has any tips, pls let me know. You can also ID them on inat.

Too general of a question. Where are you photoing these animals?

For regions where species overlap, particularly the American West, vocalization is just about the only sure way to differentiate between different Empidonax species.


I live in colorado so the southwestern and American red squirrels are overlapping and I can’t distinguish the 2. Empidonax Flycatchers are just confusing for me so I’m looking for tips to ID them. Also here are the obs I need IDed.

do you use AllAboutBirds (CornellLab) as a resource? Once you’re on a species page, you can find a section where you can ‘Compare with Similar Species’. That will give you specific tips on what to look for which might help.

And I agree that songs help (or are necessary). You can try recording the song or trying to make notes you can add to a photo. The Cornell site has info on songs, as well.

For myself, I’m learned to be content with genus level IDs for a lot of my Flycatcher obs.


Just a reminder that the forum is not a place to request ID help on specific observations.
Asking about general tips for an area or species comparisons as above is fine though!


I don’t know if anyone has worked out morphological/pelage characteristics of Southwestern vs. American red squirrels in the Southern Rockies, such as much of Colorado. As they do overlap substantially in range in CO, could be tough to nail down which species you’re photographing. We’re referring all Tamiasciurus in New Mexico to fremonti although the Hope et al. (2016) paper that split these species suggests we may have both in the north of the state. Another phylogenetics study that does little to help with identification unless you only look at DNA.

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Hear, hear! Biodiversity researchers need to look up from their gel electrophoresis and understand that morphology and ecology are the means by which evolution induces genetic change.

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