Monday, 21 January 2008
Special birds: Red-breasted Flycatcher
Red-breasted Flycatchers Ficedula parva can be real neck-breakers to see when they sing from high perches in the canopy. In addition, they are small (less than 12cm in length - Spotted Flycatcher is 14cm) and tend to flit about nervously. They typically breed in mature, upland broadleaved woodlands from the Baltic States south through most of the region to Bulgaria. These dainty birds are summer visitors to Europe, usually arriving in breeding areas in May and leaving in August. On passage they can often be seen in open, more scrubby habitats. Males only show the orangy-red throat and upper breast after 2 or 3 years. Younger males and females lack this red bip. All birds show white patches on the outer tail and these can be conspicuous when the tail is cocked and flicked, as it often is, in typical flycatcher fashion.