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Species Guide

Narcissus Flycatcher

Ficedula narcissina

The Narcissus Flycatcher, Ficedula narcissina, is a small passerine bird, a member of the Old World flycatcher family. It exhibits sexual dimorphism, with males donning a striking appearance during the breeding season. They boast a black crown and mantle, a vivid orange throat, paler chest and underparts, an orange-yellow eyebrow, black wings with a white wing patch, an orange-yellow rump, and a black tail. Outside of breeding, males display varying levels of yellow. Females, on the other hand, present a more subdued buff-brown plumage with rusty-colored wings and a two-toned eyering.

Identification Tips

To identify the Narcissus Flycatcher, look for the male's distinctive breeding plumage with its black and orange contrasts. The white wing patch is a key feature to note. Females can be recognized by their overall buff-brown coloration and the unique two-toned eyering.


This species favors deciduous woodlands, where it can be observed flitting among the trees in search of insects.


The Narcissus Flycatcher is native to the East Palearctic, ranging from Sakhalin in the north, through Japan, Korea, mainland China, and Taiwan. It is a highly migratory bird, wintering in Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, Vietnam, and Borneo. Remarkably, it has been recorded as a vagrant as far afield as Australia and Alaska.


Males arrive at breeding grounds before females to establish territories and prepare nests. Older males, familiar with the mating rituals, typically arrive earlier than their younger counterparts. The species is known for its migratory patterns, traveling vast distances between breeding and wintering grounds.

Song & Calls

During the breeding season, males can be heard delivering repeated melodious whistles, a serenade to attract mates and assert their presence in the woodland chorus.


The Narcissus Flycatcher commences its breeding activities in early May. Males are the first to arrive at breeding sites, where they prepare nests that play a crucial role in mate selection and provide shelter for the forthcoming brood.

Similar Species

The green-backed flycatcher (Ficedula elisae) and the Ryukyu flycatcher (Ficedula owstoni) were once considered subspecies but are now recognized as separate species. They share similar habitats and feeding habits but can be distinguished by subtle differences in plumage and range.

Diet and Feeding

Insects form the primary diet of the Narcissus Flycatcher, which it adeptly captures in the dense foliage of its woodland habitat.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List classifies the Narcissus Flycatcher as Least Concern, indicating that, currently, there are no immediate threats to its population levels.

Narcissus Flycatcher Sounds

Recorded by: © 
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Narcissus Flycatchers on Birda


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White-gorgeted Flycatcher

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