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How To Spot The European Pied Flycatcher

Eschenbach has more bird spotting tips to share with us and this time, we're looking for the European Pied Flycatcher.

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The European Pied Flycatcher


The European pied flycatcher is at most 13 centimetres long but this does not prevent him from being a true aerial acrobat or easily capturing flying insects.



The European pied flycatcher has a fairly round and compact body and in both sexes the chest and abdomen areas are white. The male's back, head, wings and tail are differently coloured depending on the region, from black in northern Europe to grey-brown in central Eastern Europe, and they have a large white patch on the wings as well as a small one just above the short broad beak.

Females have brown upperparts and as they don't have a white patch above the beak they can be easily confused with the female wood warbler. Wood warblers are slightly greyer and carry a larger white patch on their wings.



The species is widespread throughout Europe and is only lacking in Iceland and the Steppes area of Eastern Europe. They breed in Europe and winter in tropical Africa.

The European pied flycatcher nest in tree cavities and their habitat must provide enough tree caves, deciduous and mixed forests are best suited (they are rarely found in coniferous forest.)

Although it is considered of least concern by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the European pied flycatcher has been declining more and more in recent years. This is, among other things, due to climate change.



Pied flycatchers mainly feed on flying insects like flies and mosquitoes. They also eat grasshoppers, beetle and spiders. In autumn, berries and fruits supplement their diet.

When the males return from Africa in April, they secure a good nesting place first. The female lays 5 to 8 light blue eggs in the well-padded nest and the more intense the blue colour is, the more robust the chick will be. The female incubates the eggs alone and after two weeks, the chicks hatch and will be fed by both parents. After two weeks, they fledge and start exploring their surroundings on their own.


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