Spotted Flycatcher

Scientific name: Muscicapa striata

Did you know: Spotted Flycatchers journey an incredible 7,000 km from Africa to grace the UK with their presence each summer.

What Do Spotted Flycatchers Look Like? (How to Identify Them)

Spotted Flycatchers, a modest yet captivating bird species, are known for their understated beauty. With a grey-brown plumage that may seem plain at first glance, these birds are distinguished by their engaging fly-catching behaviour. They exhibit an interesting habit of launching from a high perch to snatch flying insects, only to return to the same spot. 

Notably, adult Spotted Flycatchers have grey-brown upperparts and whitish underparts, marked by a streaked crown and breast. These features contribute to their common name. Juveniles differ slightly, displaying a browner hue and spots on their upperparts.

Differences Between Male and Female Spotted Flycatchers

In terms of physical appearance, male and female Spotted Flycatchers share remarkable similarities. Both sexes exhibit the same colouration and pattern, making it challenging to distinguish between them based solely on visual characteristics.

What Do Spotted Flycatchers Eat?

The diet of Spotted Flycatchers primarily consists of flying insects. They skillfully catch butterflies, damselflies, moths, and craneflies mid-air. In adverse weather, they adapt by foraging for insects in trees and shrubs. 

This adaptability in their feeding habits ensures their survival in varying conditions.

Where Do Spotted Flycatchers Live? (Including Migration Info)

Spotted Flycatchers choose a variety of habitats, including woodlands, urban and suburban areas, and farmlands. They breed across most of Europe and the Palearctic up to Siberia and migrate to winter in Africa and southwestern Asia. 

Remarkably, some travel as far as Namibia, covering a distance of around 7,000 km. Their migration patterns and choice of habitats reflect their adaptability and resilience as a species.

Bird Calls & Songs (The Unique Voices of Spotted Flycatchers)

The call of a Spotted Flycatcher is a distinctive, high-pitched ‘tssssseeeeeppppp’, slightly descending in pitch. This sound is an integral part of their identity, often heard in their preferred habitats.

Fun Spotted Flycatcher Facts (Kid Friendly)

  • Despite weighing only 14-19g, they migrate thousands of kilometres each year.
  • They can safely eat wasps and bees by first removing the stingers.
  • They construct nests using grass, lichens, and twigs in sheltered spots.
  • Their song can be heard across their habitats, a soft melody unique to them.
  • Spotted Flycatchers are one of the last summer migrants to arrive in the UK, usually in late April or May.
  • They capture flying insects with remarkable precision and agility.
  • Chicks are ready to leave the nest in just about two weeks after hatching.
  • Their numbers have been declining, making their conservation crucial.
  • They need to watch out for jays and domestic cats, especially the young ones.

Spotted Flycatcher Images

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Male
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Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile

Facts About The Spotted Flycatcher

Diet: Flying insects, such as moths, butterflies, damselflies, craneflies and other tasty morsels. If the weather is bad, they can search trees and shrubs for other insect food.
Bird Family: Old World flycatchers and chats
Length: 14cm
Wingspan: 23-25cm
Weight: 14-19g
Scientific Name: Muscicapa striata

The Spotted Flycatcher Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October