Woodland Trust

Nature's CalendarNature Detectives

Have you spotted the first flowering of elder yet?

spotted flycatcherSpotted flycatcher. iStock

Muscicapa striata

  • A small, slim, elegant bird
  • Mouse-brown topsides
  • Lightly-streaked, whitish underparts
  • Dashes after passing flying insects, including butterflies, often returning to the same perch

The song is a high-pitched warble - click on the recording below to listen:

Where found

Woods, parks and gardens, often seen sitting upright on a post or twig.

When to look for

A summer visitor from late April / early May -
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Fabulous spotted flycatcher facts

  • Spotted flycatchers are long-distance migrants. In July and August the tiny travellers head south-west through western France and Portugal before crossing the Mediterranean and making for West Africa and then Zaire

  • They often come back year after year to nest in the same niche - a hole in the wall, a shaded ledge, or a fork of ivy, and in some cases the same nest is repaired and re-used again and again

  • One of the few birds able to tell its own eggs from those of the cuckoo - because of this it is thought likely that the spotted flycatcher was once a host of the cuckoo, but became so good at recognising the intruder's eggs that it ceased to be victimised