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Spotted Flycatcher

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Once a common bird around houses and gardens but now, sadly, quite rare.


Photograph by: 
Peter Orchard

Nature Studies: One of our best-loved songbirds is quietly dying out

Post date: Monday, 17 August, 2015 - 00:00

"Quietly, hardly noticed by the world at large, one of our best-loved small songbirds, the spotted flycatcher, is sliding inexorably towards extinction and the cause is almost certainly persticides but no one is making the connection."

Read more about this sad tale in this article from the Independant ... click to read it.


Spotted Flycatcher: looping the loop

Post date: Wednesday, 29 June, 2016 - 20:36

The spotted flycatcher (Muscicapa striata) is not a particularly glamorous bird but it has a gentleness about it that makes it a favourite of mine. One of the many changes I have witnessed in my years of birding is the sad decline of this species. It was never common but frequently nested around the houses of the village we lived in the Test Valley in Hampshire back in the 1980's and 90's before we moved to Dorset but now it is uncommon everywhere. Whilst they are present in Dorset I took this photograph on a return to that Hampshire village so it is holding on there. 

On Springwatch they reported that numbers of spotted flycatcher were down a staggering 81% on levels of just 20 years ago. All sorts of issues come in to play; declining numbers of insects, loss of nesting habitat, problems in their wintering quarters in Africa and persecution whilst on migration all contribute to decline of this species; I just hope it is not too late to reverse the trend. 

You do not need to see a spotted flycatcher close up to identify it. If you see a bird perched near the end of a branch, then see it fly up in a loop and return to that same perch then odds on its a spottie! Although called the spotted flycatcher its front is more streaked than spotted. 


The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Sites List Distribution Map Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
Common Name Spotted Flycatcher
Scientific Name Muscicapa striata
Status Scarce
Interest Level
Species Family Flycatchers and Larks
  • 05 - May
  • 06 - June
  • 07 - July
  • 08 - August
  • 09 - September
Preferred Environment
  • Gardens and parks
Look for The grey streaked breast
Additional Identification Notes
  • Once common around villages during the breeding season but now, alas, very scarce
  • More often seen on migration now rather than as a breeding species
  • Although 'spotted' it is actually 'streaked' brown on beige