Spotted flycatcher

Spotted flycatcher

©Richard Steel/2020VISION

Spotted flycatcher

Scientific name: Muscicapa striata
Watch the deadly accurate flying of the spotted flycatcher in woodlands, gardens and parks. It sits quietly on a perch waiting for an unsuspecting insect to fly by, deftly dashing out to seize it.

Species information


Length: 14cm
Wingspan: 24cm
Weight: 17g
Average lifespan: 2 years

Conservation status

Classified in the UK as Red under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2021). Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework.

When to see

April to September


The spotted flycatcher is a medium-sized songbird of open woodland, parks and gardens. It has a relatively long tail, which it flicks while it sits patiently on a perch waiting for a chance to fly out and catch its insect-prey mid-air. During the breeding season, spotted flycatchers can be seen across the UK, but they leave here in August for their wintering grounds in tropical Africa. Passage migrants can be seen in September.

How to identify

A streaky, greyish-brown bird, the spotted flycatcher is pale underneath, with a streaky crown and breast.


A widespread summer visitor.

Did you know?

One of the latest summer migrants to return to the UK, spotted flycatchers don't reappear on their breeding territories until may or even June, and may only be around for a couple of months - just long enough to rear their young.


©John Bridges