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Asian Brown Flycatchers


Asian Brown Flycatcher, Muscicapa dauurica

Asian Brown Flycatcher, Muscicapa dauurica The Asian Brown Flycatcher, Muscicapa dauurica, is a small passerine bird in the flycatcher family Muscicapidae. It includes the Brown-streaked Flycatcher, which is sometimes considered a distinct species Muscicapa williamsoni.

Distribution / Range

This is an insectivorous species which breeds in Japan, eastern Siberia and the Himalayas. It is migratory and winters in tropical southern Asia from southern India and Sri Lanka east to Indonesia.

Asian Brown Flycatcher is an extremely rare vagrant to Western Europe. Records have come from Britain, Denmark, and Sweden, and in addition, there are unproven claims from Ireland, Faeroe, and Norway.

On 3 October 2007 a first winter Brown Flycatcher was discovered at Flamborough Head, East Yorkshire which attracted hundreds of birdwatchers during its stay which lasted until dusk of the following day. This looks set to become the first accepted record. A previous record, on Fair Isle, on 1-2 July 1992 [3] was regarded by the BOURC as not definitely of wild origin. A bird had also been claimed on Holy Island, Northumberland on 9 Sept 1956, but the identification was not accepted with beyond doubt.

Asian Brown Flycatcher (Muscicapa dauurica) Description

This species is 13 cm long, including the cocked tail. It is similar in shape to the larger Spotted Flycatcher, but is relatively longer-tailed. The dark bill is relatively large and broad-based.

The adult has grey-brown upperparts, which become greyer as the plumage ages, and whitish underparts with brown-tinged flanks.

Young birds have scaly brown upperparts, head and breast.

Geographical variation

Although usually treated as monotypic if the Brown-streaked Flycatcher is not included, Rasmussen and Anderton, in Birds of South Asia. The Ripley Guide argue that populations in the Indian subcontinent and the Andaman Islands should be regarded as a separate subspecies, poonensis, from the nominate race which occupies most of the species' range.

They describe poonensis as paler and browner above, with a deeper bill, and mostly pale lower mandible, a more mottled throat, breast and flanks (in fresh plumage), less contrastingly white "spectacles" and throat, and perhaps a more rounded wing.

Asian Brown Flycatcher, Muscicapa dauurica Behaviour

Asian Brown Flycatcher is a common bird found in open woodland and cultivated areas. It nests in a hole in a tree, laying four eggs which are incubated by the female.

The male Asian Brown Flycatcher sings a simple melodic song during courtship.

This bird is parasitised by the chewing louse Philopterus davuricae.


  1. BirdLife International (2004). Muscicapa dauurica. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
  2. Rasmussen, Pamela C. and John C. Anderton (2005) Birds of South Asia. The Ripley Guide ISBN 84-87334-67-9
  3. Harvey, Paul (1992) The Brown Flycatcher on Fair Isle - a new British bird Birding World 5(7):252-255
  • Birds of India by Grimmett, Inskipp and Inskipp, ISBN 0-691-04910-6

Asian Brown Flycatcher, Muscicapa dauurica, Further reading

  • Bradshaw, C., P. J. Jepson and N. J. Lindsey. (1991) Identification of brown flycatchers British Birds 84(12):527-542
  • Alström, Per and Erik Hirschfeld (1991) Field identification of Brown, Siberian and Grey-streaked Flycatchers Birding World 4(8):271-278

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