Monday, July 14, 2014

Grey-streaked Flycatcher (Muscicapa griseisticta)

(14 cm.) Small; grey upperparts; heavily streaked white underparts; eye ring

The Grey-streaked Flycatcher is a rather petite and slight member of the flycatcher family, but despite its diminutive size it engages in the pursuit of flying insects with all the fervor of other members of the flycatcher family.

This species is quite drab in appearance when compared with some other members of its family, but it is quite an attractive bird nonetheless. Unlike some other flycatcher species, males and females of this species look alike.

This species of flycatcher breeds in summer in the coniferous forests of northern China and Russia where it is especially fond of the Larch Tree for nesting. Like many other Chinese flycatchers, this bird embarks on a long-distance trek south along the Chinese East Coast to its wintering grounds. In winter, this species can be found in Taiwan, Borneo, Indonesia, the Philippines, and as far south as New Guinea.

The Grey-streaked Flycatcher can usually be found hunting for insects nearby rivers and streams as it seems to favor smaller insects such as mosquitoes that congregate near water.

This bird will perch patiently until potential prey is spotted, and then fly off quite a distance, often as far as 20 meters, in an attempt to capture a meal. The bird will return to exactly the same perch and begin the process again. More often than not, the flycatcher’s attempts at capturing prey are successful.

All flycatchers are equipped with stiff bristles that surround the base of their bills. These bristles act as a net, assisting the flycatcher with the capture of its prey. All flycatcher species are also blessed with an extremely large gape (size of mouth with bill open) to further assist in their hunting activities.

Photo by Brian Westland

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