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A photo of a Red-breasted Flycatcher (Ficedula parva), male
Red-breasted Flycatcher, Male

Red-breasted Flycatcher

Ficedula parva

The Red-breasted Flycatcher, Ficedula parva, presents itself as a diminutive passerine, a member of the Old World flycatcher family. The breeding male is a study in contrast, with a predominantly brown upper body, a white underbelly, a grey head, and a striking orange throat. This small bird measures a mere 11–12 cm in length.

Identification Tips

Males in their breeding plumage can be identified by their orange throats, grey heads, and the black bill shaped for aerial insect hunting. Both sexes exhibit a distinctive tail pattern, with a white base on the outer feathers and an inverted dark 'T' against the white tail sides, reminiscent of a Wheatear. Non-breeding males, females, and juveniles lack the throat collar and have brown heads.

Habitat

The Red-breasted Flycatcher favors deciduous woodlands, particularly those in proximity to bodies of water, where it can be seen flitting about in search of sustenance.

Distribution

This species breeds across eastern Europe and Central Asia. It is migratory, wintering in South Asia, and is a regular passage migrant in western Europe.

Behaviour

The Red-breasted Flycatcher is an adept aerial hunter, capturing insects mid-flight. It also forages amongst oak foliage for caterpillars and will partake in berries. The tail is often flicked upwards while perched, as it keeps a vigilant lookout for insect prey.

Song & Calls

In the silence of winter, the Red-breasted Flycatcher is mostly mute, save for a characteristic 'chip-chip-chr-rrr' call. Come breeding season, the air is filled with its melodious whistles, akin to the song of the European Pied Flycatcher.

Breeding

An open nest is constructed within a tree hole or similar recess, where 4–7 eggs are carefully laid.

Similar Species

The closely related Taiga Flycatcher, previously considered a subspecies, can be distinguished by its red throat bordered by grey and a differing song.

Diet and Feeding

The Red-breasted Flycatcher's diet consists of insects caught on the wing, caterpillars found among leaves, and occasionally, berries.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List classifies the Red-breasted Flycatcher as Least Concern, indicating a stable population without immediate threats to its survival.

Red-breasted Flycatcher Sounds


Recorded by: © 
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