Belongs to: birds

Spotted flycatcher Muscicapa striata

BoCC Red list

Best time to see: mid May to early Sep

Key facts

Rather drab summer visitor with unmistakable 'fly-catching' behaviour

Habitat: sunny areas with trees, such as large gardens, parks, coppiced woods, woodland rides

Widespread summer visitor, although declining; late arrival (usually May) from its winter quarters in southern Africa


Greyish brown with pale breast and streaked throat; c.14 cm

Often seen perched bolt upright on a fence or tree, flying out and back to catch passing insects

Feeds on insects; agile flight on large wings


Nest is a cup against a wall or tree trunk, often near ground; will also use open-fronted nestboxes

1 or 2 broods May to June, 4–5 pale blue eggs, blotched reddish; female incubates, fed by male, and both feed the nestlings

Winters in southern Africa, returning here in mid-to-late May, often to the same favourite nest site

© Robin Chittenden