Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Spotted Flycatcher

All photo`s digiscoped using Canon Powershot A640 and Kowa TSN-883 x30

The Spotted Flycatcher is one of the last migrant birds to arrive in this country with most returning in late May, before leaving in July and August. A pair of these lovely birds have bred in the churchyard at Elton, a village just outside Peterborough, for the past few years and have returned this year to try again.

The bird is the size of a House Sparrow with a long dark bill, a rounded head and long wings and a tail. The upperparts of the bird are grey-brown with off-white underparts with streaks on the breast and crown.

They feed on flying insects, especially large flies and also butterflies. They hunt these from a prominent perch, flying out, chasing the prey erratically, siezing the insect and then returning to the same perch.

The female lays 4-6 eggs and incubates these for 12-14 days. Both sexes feed the young until they leave the nest at about 15 days, but the young remain dependant on their parents for a further 12-32 days. The population of this bird was 120,000 pairs in 1988-91, but by 1998 this had fallen by 78%. The reasons for this are not fully understood, but can be linked to problems at their wintering grounds south of the equator and on the migration routes.


  1. You have got some great shots of these John. I will have to look out for them on my cycle rides through that village. We usually get a few on their return migration later in the year, but I don't see any this time of the year normally particularly at FM.

  2. Hi Roy,
    I know there was one reported close to the pyramid at FM the other day, but these ones are at a reliable place to see them.

  3. Lovely photos of a real little beauty John! Unfortunately I have never been lucky enough to photograph one.

  4. Hi ShySongbird,
    My thanks for those kind words. I am lucky in that I knew this place was `good` for the species, so was able to wait for them to appear!


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