Spotted Flycatcher African Dusky Flycatcher Ashy ... FLYCATCHERS FLYCATCHERS BLUE-GREY FLYCATCHERS:

Spotted Flycatcher African Dusky Flycatcher Ashy ... FLYCATCHERS FLYCATCHERS BLUE-GREY FLYCATCHERS:
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Transcript of Spotted Flycatcher African Dusky Flycatcher Ashy ... FLYCATCHERS FLYCATCHERS BLUE-GREY FLYCATCHERS:


    BLUE-GREY FLYCATCHERS: Subtropical flycatchers with similar blue-grey plumage but very different foraging strategies: Ashy hawks insects at mid-levels or canopy edge in moist woodland and at forest fringes; Grey Tit-Flycatcher gleans insects inside tree canopies in woodland, bushveld and riverine bush.

    154   155

    African Dusky Flycatcher Muscicapa adusta (Donkervlieëvanger) L: 12-13 cm M: 10-(12)-14 g [1: M. a. adusta; 2: M. a. fus­ cula; 3: M. a. subadusta; 4: M. a. mesica]. Smallest and cutest flycatcher, with a dumpy body, large domed head and short wings (resident). Crown almost plain; breast smudged. Quietly waits on a low perch, catching insects in flight or on the ground; often calls from canopy. Does not flick wings as often as Spotted does.

    SMALL BROWN FLYCATCHERS: Small and nondescript but common flycatchers that hunt from low lookout points. Spotted is a widespread non-br. migrant to virtually any habitat (but especially open woodland). Dusky prefers forest clearings and edges, riverine woodland, plantations and shady gardens.

    Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata (Europese Vlieëvanger) L: 13-15 cm M: 13-(16)-21 g [Races overlap: M. s. striata; M. s. neumanni; M. s. balea­ rica; M. s. sarudnyi; M. s. inex­ pectata]. A slim, elongated, streamlined, upright LBJ. Wings very long (migratory). Except for streaked crown and breast, lacks obvious features; best identified by shape and wing flicking. Common in open habitats, Oct-Apr.

    'spotted' juv. plumage moulted before reaching Southern Africa, but may retain buff-tipped coverts

    streaked crown

    looks distinctly long-winged (migratory)

    greyish white below

    diffusely streaked

    (may look plain)

    plain greyish brown

    small, spiky


    long, tapering


    flight dashing, swooping & agile; may

    hover briefly

    short legs and

    weak feet

    often darker lores and more distinct pale eyebrow/eye- ring than Spotted

    looks distinctly short-winged (resident or short-distance migrant only)

    short, narrow tail

    short legs, weak feet

    soft, dark grey-brown


    tiny bill

    darker below than Spotted

    extensive golden or buffy white spots

    relatively short wings

    & tail, but still agile in flight

    identifiable by shape: looks 'cute' with compact,

    dumpy body, large head and short wings and tail

    Ashy Flycatcher Muscicapa caerulescens (Blougrysvlieëvanger) L: 14-15 cm M: 12-(16)-19 g [1: M. c. caerulescens; 2: M. c. vulturna; 3: M. c. impavida]. An inconspicuous but rather tame flycatcher with attractive blue-grey plumage. It spends much time watching quietly from a secluded, shady vantage point, hawking passing insects in flight, usually just below the canopy or between 2 trees.

    Grey Tit-Flycatcher Myioparus plumbeus (Waaierstertvlieëvanger) L: 13-14 cm M: 11-(12)-13 g [1: M. p. catoleucum; 2: M. p. orientalis]. A dainty warbler- like species. Blue-grey plumage recalls Ashy, but hunting strat- egy different: actively searches for prey inside of canopy, often waving black, white-edged tail. Usually located by its trembling telephone-like song, but easily overlooked if silent.

    long, dark, fan- shaped tail


    forages actively but unobtrusively by gleaning

    in canopy; rarely flycatches inside canopy too (if space allows)

    grey lores

    robustly built: less dainty than Grey Tit-Flycatcher, less

    elongated than Spotted and less dumpy than African Dusky

    black lores; broken white


    strong, typical flycatcher bill

    soft, pastel blue-grey

    no white in tail

    often sits upright with head cocked to the side

    tail often spread in




    imm. striata Brits, NW

    waits unobtrusively on a 1-3 m high perch, idly flicking tail, then swoops out to catch a flying insect with an audible bill- snap; upon landing flicks wings quickly

    adult striata Maun, Bot

    adult neumanni

    Masvingo, Zim

    pale edges in fresh plumage

    identifiable by shape: elongated,

    slender, streamlined; slim lower body

    briefly flicks wings when landing

    (a habit shared with e.g. Familiar Chat, p. 134)

    juv. adusta Knysna, WC



    essentially unstreaked

    crown large, domed


    ad. fuscula Kosi Bay, KZN

    ad. adusta

    Tzaneen, Lim

    plain dark grey-brown

    smallest flycatcher


    swoops & dives between trees or from branch

    to branch inside canopy

    ad. impavida Chobe, Bot

    adult caerulescens Durban, KZN

    extensive golden buff


    juv. vulturna Skukuza, MP

    trio waiting for passing insects

    scaly or barred below



    3 3

    no white

    frequently waves and fans tail while foraging

    ad. catoleucum Shakawe, Bot

    adult catoleucum

    Pilanesberg, NW

    juv. orientalis

    Mkuze, KZN

    1 21

    conspicuous white corners

    and sides when tail spread

    slim and rather delicate in build;

    carriage horizontal