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Spotted Flycatcher, Muscicapa striata, Grå flugsnappare

Thanks to MJB, Nutcracker and sicklebill at Birdforum I could identify this bird.

Forum thread HERE


The Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata), called Grå Flugsnappare in Skåne, is a small passerine bird in the Old World flycatcher family. It breeds in most of Europe and western Asia, and is migratory, wintering in Africa and south western Asia. It is declining in parts of its range.

This is an undistinguished looking bird with long wings and tail. The adults have grey-brown upperparts and whitish underparts, with a streaked crown and breast, giving rise to the bird's common name. The legs are short and black, and the bill is black and has the broad but pointed shape typical of aerial insectivores. Juveniles are browner than adults and have spots on the upperparts.

Spotted Flycatcher, Muscicapa striata, Grå flugsnappare

Spotted Flycatcher, Muscicapa striata, Grå flugsnappare
Range map from - Ornithological Portal is one of those MUST visit pages if you're in to bird watching. You can find just about everything there

The spotted flycatcher was described by the German naturalist Peter Simon Pallas in 1764 and given the binomial name Motacilla striata. The genus name Muscicapa comes from the Latin musca, a fly and capere, to catch. The specific epithet striata is from the Latin striatus meaning striated.

There are five recognised subspecies all of which winter in southern Africa. The breeding range is given below.

• M. s. striata (Pallas, 1764) – Europe to west Siberia, northwest Africa

• M. s. inexpectata Dementiev, 1932 – Crimea (southern Ukraine)

• M. s. neumanni Poche, 1904 – islands of the Aegean Sea through to the Middle East, the Caucasus, northern Iran and central Siberia

• M. s. sarudnyi Snigirewski, 1928 – eastern Iran and Turkmenistan to the mountains of central Asia and north Pakistan

• M. s. mongola Portenko, 1955 – Mongolia and south-central Siberia

A molecular phylogenetic study published in 2016 found that M. s. tyrrhenica and M. s. balearica were genetically similar to each other but significantly different from the other spotted flycatcher subspecies. The authors proposed that these insular subspecies should be considered as a separate species.

The IOC has split the species and is known as the Mediterranean flycatcher, while other taxonomic authorities still consider it to be conspecific.

The spotted flycatcher is a small slim bird, around 14.5 cm in length, with a weight of 14–20 g. It has dull grey-brown upperparts and off-white underparts. The crown, throat and breast are streaked with brown while the wings and tail feathers are edged with paler thin margins.

The subspecies M. s. tyrrhenica has paler and warmer plumage on the upperparts, with more diffuse markings on the head and breast. The sexes are alike. Juveniles have ochre-buff spots above and scaly brown spots below.

Behaviour and ecology
Spotted flycatchers hunt from conspicuous perches, making sallies after passing flying insects, and often returning to the same perch. Their upright posture is characteristic.

Most passerines moult their primary flight feathers in sequence beginning near the body and proceeding outwards along the wing. The spotted flycatcher is unusual in replacing the outer flight feathers before those nearer the body.

The flycatcher's call is a thin, drawn out soft and high pitched tssssseeeeeppppp, slightly descending in pitch.

Listen to the Spotted Flycatcher

Remarks from the Recordist

Song from high up in a tree in the forest, clearly visible. Sang intensively without moving for at least 15 minutes.

Two recordings, the second one starts at 1:10.

They are birds of deciduous woodlands, parks and gardens, with a preference for open areas amongst trees. They build an open nest in a suitable recess, often against a wall, and will readily adapt to an open-fronted nest box. 4-6 eggs are laid.

Most European birds cannot discriminate between their own eggs and those of other species. The exception to this are the hosts of the common cuckoo, which have had to evolve this skill as a protection against that nest parasite.

The spotted flycatcher shows excellent egg recognition, and it is likely that it was once a host of the cuckoo, but became so good at recognising the intruder's eggs that it ceased to be victimised. A contrast to this is the dunnock, which appears to be a recent cuckoo host, since it does not show any egg discrimination.

Spotted Flycatcher, Muscicapa striata, Grå flugsnappare
Egg, Collection Museum Wiesbaden
By Klaus Rassinger und Gerhard Cammerer, Museum Wiesbaden - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

A study conducted at two different locations in southern England found that one third of nests were predated. The Eurasian jay (Garrulus glandarius) was the most common aerial predator, consuming both eggs and chicks. The domestic cat (Felis catus) predated a small fraction of the nests.

Conservation status
Spotted Flycatcher, Muscicapa striata, Grå flugsnappare
Least Concern (IUCN 3.1)
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sighted: (Date of first photo that I could use) 6 October 2018
Location: On board m/t Ribe Maersk, Djibouti anchorage

Spotted Flycatcher, Muscicapa striata, Grå flugsnappare
Spotted Flycatcher - On board m/t Ribe Maersk, Djibouti anchorage - 6 October 2018

Spotted Flycatcher, Muscicapa striata, Grå flugsnappare
Spotted Flycatcher - On board m/t Ribe Maersk, Djibouti anchorage - 6 October 2018

Spotted Flycatcher, Muscicapa striata, Grå flugsnappare
Spotted Flycatcher - On board m/t Ribe Maersk, Djibouti anchorage - 6 October 2018

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