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Spotted Flycatcher

Spotted Flycatcher Spotted Flycatcher Both Sexes
Grey-brown upperparts, whitish underparts with brown streaks.
Distribution map - when and where you are most likely to see the species.
Muscicapa striata
Length: 15 cm  (6")
Wing Span: 23-25 cm  (9-10")
Weight: 15-19 g  (½ oz)
Breeding Pairs: 155 000
Present: Summer
Status: Red

Description

The Spotted Flycatcher is about the size of a House Sparrow.

The male and females are alike: slim with grey-brown upperparts, whitish underparts with dark streaks on the crown, breast and throat. The bill and legs are both black.

Juveniles are similar to the adults but have pale spots on the upperparts.

Voice

Choose from Quicktime and mp3. Call
  Quicktime mp3

The call is frequent but is a rather quiet and scratchy "tsee-tsee".

Feeding

Spotted Flycatchers feed on flying insects, such as bees and butterflies, but also berries in the autumn.

They sit quite upright on an exposed branch, flicking the tail and watching for insects flying passed. Consequently, you often see them flying out from a tree and back again in a circular path.

Nesting

Spotted Flycatchers breed in open woodland, parks, and gardens that have trees. They will also nest in open-fronted nest boxes.

Both birds build the nest, which is usually against the tree trunk. The nest is a cup made of grass, thin twigs, lichen, and spiders' webs, and lined with feathers and hair.

The smooth, glossy eggs are white with reddish blotches, and about 19 mm by 14 mm. Incubation is by the female only. The young are fed by both parents.

Breeding Data
Breeding Starts Number of Clutches Number of Eggs Incubation (days) Fledge (days)
May 1-2 4-5 11-15 12-14

Movements

The Spotted Flycatcher is a summer visitor usually arriving in the latter half of May and departing at the end of August. Their wintering grounds are in tropical Africa, south of the equator.

Conservation

The Spotted Flycatcher population has declined by more than half in the last 25 years and so this is a Red List species. This decline may be due to problems in their wintering grounds and changes in woodland management in Britain.

My Garden

Spotted Flycatchers have not been seen in our garden, though I have seen one once on my local patch in August that was probably on its southbound migration to Africa.


Last revision: 21 Feb 2015
Copyright © David Gains 1999-2017.
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