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Order Song birds/Passeriformes, Family Flycatchers/Muscicapidae

Red-breasted Flycatcher/Ficedula parva - Adult

L 11-12 cm. Breeds in forests in a variety of habitats, mostly in lush, dense patches with rich undergrowth and a brook or other water, preferring deciduous woods but not shunning mixed. Summer visitor (mainly May-Sep), wintering in W Asia. Food insects. Nests in treehole or recess on trunk.
IDENTIFICATION: Small like a Chiffchaff, and frequently with similar quick movements, restlessly dashing around in canopy (different from other flycatchers). However, now and then sits still on perch watching for insects, revealing its flycatcher identity by flicking its wings and cocking its rather long tail, sometimes quite high up over back, occasionally spread enough to show the characteristic Wheatear-like pattern of the tail in black and white. Upperparts mainly brown, underparts whitish. Narrow eye-ring whitish, eye dark. Rather small bill dark, with pinkish-brown base to lower mandible. - Adult male: Orange-red throat patch (size somewhat variable, possibly partly age-related) with rather diffuse lower border against buffish off-white breast, but sharply defined laterally by lead-grey sides to neck; lead-grey colour also invades head and nape. Uppertail-coverts jet-black. - Subadult male: Like adult, but orange-red colour restricted to small patch on chin and upper throat only, and lead-grey fainter and more restricted. - 1st-summer male/females: No orange-red on throat, and no lead-grey on head and neck. Uppertailcoverts brown, not black. Underparts tinged creamy-buff. - 1st-winter: Like 1st-summer male/females, but underparts rich buff, and wing-coverts tipped buff and forming wing-bar on greater coverts; tertials edged buff. - Variation: males from Ural and eastwards have red throat patch completely encircled by lead-grey, a different song, and females and young have colder, less buff, underparts, darker base of bill, and jet-black uppertail-coverts (possibly a separate species, ‘Taiga Flycatcher’ Ficedula albicilla?).
VOICE: Vocal. Common call on migration a slurred rattle, ‘serrrt’, like a soft Wren. Other calls: anxiety and alarm a short, soft disyllabic whistle, ‘dilü’ (sometimes ‘düli’); a short, shrill ‘zree’ (like opening notes to song); dry clicking ‘tek’ notes. Song opens with a few high-pitched, sharp notes followed by rhythmical notes in Pied Flycatcher fashion (but voice a little clearer and pace a fraction slower) and ends with typical descending series of clear notes: ‘zri… zri… zri, chee chee dee-cha dee-cha dee-cha chü chü chü, tü tü tu tu too taa’ (common comparison with Willow Warbler far-fetched!).

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