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Species Guide

White-tailed Crested Flycatcher

Elminia albonotata

The White-tailed Crested Flycatcher, Elminia albonotata, presents itself as a diminutive yet striking bird. With a length of a mere 13 centimeters, it boasts a distinctive crest and a long tail that captivates the observer. The wings and crest are cloaked in black, while the rest of its plumage is a subtle grey, complemented by a white belly, rump, and the underside of the tail. Its bill is a stark black, eyes a deep brown, and legs a muted grey, completing its elegant appearance.

Identification Tips

When attempting to identify this species, look for its black crest and wings, which contrast with the grey body and white underparts. The long tail with its white outer feathers is a key characteristic to distinguish it from other flycatchers.


The White-tailed Crested Flycatcher is a denizen of subtropical or tropical evergreen montane forests. It also frequents the surrounding shrubland and bamboo areas, thriving in altitudes ranging from 600 meters in Tanzania's Udzungwa Mountains to a breath-taking 2700 meters in other regions.


This species has a discontinuous distribution across eastern Africa, with three subspecies scattered from central Kenya and Uganda to southwest Tanzania, southern Kenya to Malawi, and in Zimbabwe and Mozambique.


These birds are often seen in pairs or small family groups, and they may join mixed-species feeding flocks. They exhibit territorial behavior during the breeding season and are known to be monogamous. The male engages in a display using its tail to court the female and will feed her at the onset of the season.

Song & Calls

The call of the White-tailed Crested Flycatcher is described as weak and unstructured, a humble auditory footprint in its lush forest home.


Breeding pairs are territorial and monogamous. The male's courtship display involves tail movements and feeding the female. They construct a small nest in the fork of a branch, typically 2 meters off the ground but can be as high as 6 meters. The female is solely responsible for incubation, while the male takes on the role of feeding the chicks post-hatching. After a brief 15 days, the chicks are ready to fledge.

Diet and Feeding

While not extensively studied, the diet of this flycatcher is known to include a variety of invertebrates such as flies, ants, moths, and spiders.

Conservation status

The White-tailed Crested Flycatcher is currently classified as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, indicating that, for now, this species does not face immediate threats to its survival.

White-tailed Crested Flycatcher Sounds

Recorded by: © 
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White-tailed Crested Flycatchers on Birda

A map showing the sighting location
Nathan Mixon
19 Jul 2023 - 9:00am

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