Pied Flycatchers aka European Pied Flycatchers

Pied Flycatcher

The Pied Flycatcher, Ficedula hypoleuca, is a small passerine bird in the Old World flycatcher family, one of the four species of Western Palearctic black-and-white flycatchers.

Distribution / Range

It breeds in most of Europe and western Asia. It is migratory, wintering mainly in western Africa.

It is therefore a much earlier spring migrant than the more aerial Spotted Flycatcher, and its loud rhythmic and melodious song is characteristic of oak woods in spring.


This is a 12-13.5 cm long bird.

The breeding male is mainly black above and white below, with a large white wing patch, white tail sides and a small forehead patch.

The Iberian race iberiae (known as Iberian Pied Flycatcher) has a larger forehead patch and a pale rump.

Non-breeding males, females and juveniles have the black replaced by a pale brown, and may be very difficult to distinguish from other Ficedula flycatchers.

The bill is black, and has the broad but pointed shape typical of aerial insectivores.

The very similar Atlas Flycatcher (Ficedula speculigera), of the mountains of north west Africa was formerly classed as subspecies of Pied.

Pied Flycatcher

Diet / Feeding

As well as taking insects in flight, this species hunts caterpillars amongst the oak foliage, and will take berries.

Breeding / Nesting

They are birds of deciduous woodlands, parks and gardens, with a preference for oak trees. They build an open nest in a tree hole, and will readily adapt to an open-fronted nest box. 4-10 eggs are laid.

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