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(Eurasian) Pied Flycatcher

Male Pied Flycatcher
Male: A small, bold black and white bird.
Female Pied Flycatcher
Female: Like the male but brown and off-white.

Pied Flycatchers are smaller than Spotted Flycatchers and have shorter bills and tails.

In the summer, the male has mostly black upperparts and white underparts, a white-edged tail and a large white patch on the wings. There is a small white patch above the bill on the forehead. In winter, the male looks like the female but still has a white forehead.

The female is brown and off-white and lacks the white forehead patch.

Juvenile plumage is similar to that of the female, but has paler spotting on the upperparts and speckling below.

Both sexes and all ages have black bill and legs.

The best places to find Pied Flycatchers are hilly areas with sessile oaks.

Scientific Name Ficedula hypoleuca
Length 13 cm  (5¼")
Wing Span 21.5-24 cm  (8½-9½")
Weight 10-15 g  (½oz)
Breeding Pairs 35000
Present Summer
Status Amber

Distribution map - when and where you are most likely to see the species.


The song is a sweet warble that is better remembered as "tree, tree, once more I come to thee".

The alarm call is a repetitive "tic tic".


© Jean Roché,
Alarm Call

© Jean Roché,


Pied Flycatchers feed on insects, such as caterpillars, flies, bees, beetles, woodlice, millipedes and ants. They spend most of their time darting about the tree canopy and so can be quite difficult to see.

In the autumn they feed on some seeds and fruit, such as currants.


Pied Flycatchers breed in woodland, parks and gardens; usually near open spaces, among scattered trees.

The nest is built by the female from leaves, grass, moss and lichens, and lined with hair and wool. They will nest in a hole in a tree, or in a nest box on a tree.

The eggs of the Pied Flycatcher are about 18 mm by 13 mm in size, are smooth and glossy, and pale blue. The duties of incubating the eggs are performed by the female. The newly-hatched young are fed by both adults.

Breeding Starts Clutches Eggs Incubation (days) Fledge (days)
May 1 4-7 12-13 13-16


They are summer visitors to western and northern Britain, the males usually arriving in mid-April ahead of the females to stake claim to their territories. They migrate back to western Africa for the winter in August.


Past surveys have not provided sufficient data to determine the status of Pied Flycatchers in Britain, but some recent studies have suggested that the population has fallen since the early 1990s, for example, fewer nest boxes being used in long-established nest box schemes. Consequently, the Pied Flycatcher is now on the Red List of species of conservation concern.