Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata
This grey-brown bird displays the characteristic streaked crown and breast, from which its common name is derived. You can spot the spotted flycatcher between April and August before they make the long journey back to spend the winter months in Africa
Conservation status in Norfolk
The Spotted Flycatcher used to be a common bird in Norfolk but has undergone a dramatic decline in its population. They have been declining in numbers since the 1960s, and between 1968-1998 the population fell by 79%. It is now listed on the Norfolk Biodiversity Action Plan.
How to help
If you have a large garden ensure there are areas where ivy can grow up a wall or tree trunk to provide potential nesting sites.
Report all sightings to the Norfolk Biological Records Centre and/or to the BTO Atlas.
Information on the Spotted Flycatcher
How to recognise
The Spotted Flycatcher is about the size of a Robin (14cm) but has grey-brown plumage with a creamy breast streaked with darker grey. The streaked crown and breast gives the bird its common name. Like all flycatchers they choose conspicuous perches from which to hunt for passing insects, flying out to catch them and then returning to the same or nearby perch. The upright posture together with its fly-catching habits is the best way to identify this bird.
Flying insects are the main diet including butterflies, moths and even dragonflies, although berries are eaten in the autumn.
Where to see
The Spotted Flycatcher used to be common in Norfolk but is now encountered much less often and is thinly spread throughout the county. Areas containing ivy-covered trees or walls such as mature gardens, cemeteries and parkland are its favoured sites.
When to see
Spotted Flycatchers spend the winter in Africa and are summer migrants to the UK where they are amongst the last migrant species to arrive. Although first arrivals can be found in mid-April, it is not until mid-May that the majority of birds appear. Birds begin their return migration to Africa as early as July although most british birds depart in August. Passage migrants from northern Europe move through Norfolk during August and September when they can be seen mainly in coastal locations. Good places to see breeding Spotted Flycatchers are the NWT Weeting Heath reserve or Lynford Arboretum in Breckland.
Did you know?
Spotted flycatchers have been seen feeding after dark on insects attracted to street lamps and to lighted windows.
Spotted Flycatchers ringed in Norfolk have been found in such diverse places as eastern South Africa, Finland and Wales.
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