Monday, November 3, 2014

Blue and White Flycatcher (Cyanoptila cyanomelana)

(17 cm.) Male: Face, throat and breast black; upperparts blue; underparts white. Female: Grey-brown upperparts; brown wings and tail; white down center of throat and belly.

The Blue and White Flycatcher’s name is a descriptive moniker which goes a long way to explain this bird’s appearance and behavior. The male of the species is largely blue and white, but it also has large patches of black on the face and throat. The female, like many songbirds, is a much less beautiful bird than the male.

The bird’s family, “flycatcher”, or “muscicapidae” is a group of generally small songbirds which engage in active forms of hunting for flying insects such as flies. Many species of this family found in China are brightly colored. They are often seen sitting motionless on a perch, usually a protruding branch of a tree, waiting for a flying insect to pass before they launch themselves on a short flight to attempt to capture their prey.

The Blue and White Flycatcher if somewhat larger than other flycatchers and its striking coloration makes it one of the most beautiful to behold.

This species, like all members of its family, is highly migratory, and in fact, is only visible in many locations in the country during its migrations. It is fairly common, however, and given a little effort on the part of the observer, it can be found often during migration.

In summer, this bird breeds through Korea and Northern China, it migrates the entire length of the East Coast of China to its wintering grounds in South China, the Philippines, and Malaysia.

The Blue and White Flycatcher shows a preference for wooded areas such as deciduous forests. It can often be seen hunting and feeding high in the forest canopy.

This species is fond of all kinds of insects, not only flying ones. While smaller flycatchers will content themselves with the pursuit of flying insects, this species will often be seen searching the ground for insects and other invertebrates such as millipedes and centipedes.
Photo by Brian Westland

Photo by Brian Westland


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