British Garden Birds Site Map Album Info Quiz Shop Links About Visit us on facebook

Spotted Flycatcher

Spotted Flycatcher
Both sexes: Grey-brown upperparts, whitish underparts with brown streaks.

The Spotted Flycatcher is about the size of a House Sparrow.

The male and females are alike: slim with grey-brown upperparts, whitish underparts with dark streaks on the crown, breast and throat. The bill and legs are both black.

Juveniles are similar to the adults but have pale spots on the upperparts.

Spotted Flycatcher
Spotted Flycatcher

Scientific Name Muscicapa striata
Length 15 cm  (6")
Wing Span 23-25 cm  (9-10")
Weight 15-19 g  (½ oz)
Breeding Pairs 155000
Present Summer
Status Red

Distribution map - when and where you are most likely to see the species.


The call is frequent but is a rather quiet and scratchy "tsee-tsee".


© Jean Roché,


Spotted Flycatchers breed in open woodland, parks, and gardens that have trees. They will also nest in open-fronted nest boxes.

Both birds build the nest, which is usually against the tree trunk. The nest is a cup made of grass, thin twigs, lichen, and spiders' webs, and lined with feathers and hair.

The smooth, glossy eggs are white with reddish blotches, and about 19 mm by 14 mm. Incubation is by the female only. The young are fed by both parents.

Breeding Starts Clutches Eggs Incubation (days) Fledge (days)
May 1-2 4-5 11-15 12-14


The Spotted Flycatcher is a summer visitor usually arriving in the latter half of May and departing at the end of August. Their wintering grounds are in tropical Africa, south of the equator.


The Spotted Flycatcher population has declined by more than half in the last 25 years and so this is a Red List species. This decline may be due to problems in their wintering grounds and changes in woodland management in Britain.