Bird, bug, butterfly and a wild variety of photos from Belarus, Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Scotland and Spain by Irish wildlife photographer Patrick J. O'Keeffe and invited guests

Sunday 10 September 2017

SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa striata) Broadmeadow Estuary, Swords, Fingal, Co. Dublin, Ireland

Click here for detailed species information
Click here to see distribution map and to hear calls

The Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata) is a small Old World passerine in the family Muscicapidae which is in the genus Muscicapa. Although in decline, it is the commonest and the most widespread flycatcher found in Europe and western Asia. It is one of six species of migratory flycatcher which are summer breeding residents in Europe. There are several subspecies recognised. In late spring, it returns from its wintering areas in southern Africa and southwestern Asia. Its preferred habit is open deciduous woodland. Main prey items include small flying invertebrates and caterpillars. By September with its food supply in decline, the return migration south begins. In 2016, the International Ornithologists' Union split the two subspecies M. t. balearica  (which occurs on the Balearic Islands) and M. t. tyrrhenica  (Corsica as well as Sardinia) from Spotted Flycatcher to form a new species Mediterranean Flycatcher (Muscicapa tyrrhenica).
Above text © Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds
Spotted Flycatchers are estimated to have declined by 59% across Europe during 1980–2005 (PECBMS 2007). A predator 'control' experiment has indicated that the abundance of nest predators may be determining the breeding success of Spotted Flycatchers, especially in woodland, where nest success was lower overall than in gardens (Stoate & Szczur 2006). Another study using nest cameras has identified avian predators, especially Jays, as responsible for most nest losses (Stevens et al. 2008). Decreasing survival rates may have been caused by deterioration in woodland quality, particularly leading to declines in the large flying insects that are food to the flycatcher, or by conditions either on the wintering grounds or along migration routes (Fuller et al. 2005).