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Order Song birds/Passeriformes, Family Flycatchers/Muscicapidae

Spotted Flycatcher/Muscicapa striata - Adult

L 13½-15 cm. Breeds in gardens, parks and in forests, often appearing to prefer spots with small glades and openings among tall deciduous trees. Summer visitor, wintering in Africa. Nests in recess on tree trunk or building, often against a wall on branch of climbing shrub.
IDENTIFICATION: Medium-small, greyish-brown, rather slim passerine, lacking obvious features. Head rather large, with rounded crown in profile; bill dark, fairly long and strong. Tail and wings long, lower body rather slim. Black legs short. Dull grey-brown upperparts and off-white underparts unmarked except for dark streaking of breast, sides of throat, forehead and forecrown (best seen head-on; ground colour of forecrown slightly paler grey-brown than rest of upperparts). ‘Peppercorn’ eye dark, with indistinct, narrow palish eye-ring. In fresh plumage, secondaries diffusely edged pale and may form indistinct lighter panel on folded wing, but this still very different from wing patch of female Pied Flycatcher. Sexes alike, ages similar and generally not separable in the field. - Sits rather upright, often quite exposed, flicking its tail and watching for flying insects, then makes quick sally to snap prey, alighting on same or new perch. Flight fast and agile. When hunting, often darts sideways from perch to catch insect, sometimes rises quickly several metres and hovers, at other times may glide for a few seconds during long, sweeping dives.
VOICE: Vocal, but repertoire unobtrusive and primitive, and often overlooked. Call a short, shrill ‘zee’, not unlike what can be heard from other species such as Chaffinch, Hawfinch and Robin. Alarm more characteristic, a call-like note immediately followed by one or two short, dry, clicking ones, ‘eez-tk(-tk)’. Song a series of simple, quiet, high-pitched, squeaky or scratchy notes, often mixed with a few soft trills, rhythm a little uneven with notes well spaced.

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