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Muscicapa striata (Spotted flycatcher) 

Europese vlieŽvanger [Afrikaans]; Kapantsi-tubatubi [South Sotho]; Grauwe vliegenvanger [Dutch]; Gobemouche gris [French]; Grauschnšpper [German]; Papa-moscas-cinzento [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Passeriformes > Family: Muscicapidae > Genus: Muscicapa

Muscicapa striata (Spotted flycatcher) Muscicapa striata (Spotted flycatcher) 
Muscicapa striata (Spotted flycatcher)

Spotted flycatcher, Thornybush Game Reserve, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Top right: Spotted flycatcher, West Coast National Park, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Bottom right: Spotted flycatcher. [photo Neil Gray ©]

Distribution and habitat

Occurs across Africa south of the Sahel, extending further north through Sudan and Egypt to most of Europe and central Asia. In southern Africa it is common and widespread, as it can occupy almost any open habitat with low perches, even moving into the Namib Desert of Namibia if there are adequate perches available. It is regularly visits gardens with trees, and may also move into previously barren areas if they have stands of alien trees, such as pine (Pinus) plantations in the Free State Province.

Distribution of Spotted flycatcher in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Movements and migrations

Palearctic summer migrant, breeding in north-western Africa and Eurasia and flying south to sub-Saharan africa in the non-breeding season. It typically arrives in southern Africa during the period from mid October to late November, leaving around mid March to early April.


It mainly eats insects, doing most of its foraging from a low perch from which it hawks insects from the air, often moving from perch to perch in search of more food. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


Not threatened, in fact widespread and common.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.