British wildlife recordings

Muscicapa striata : Spotted Flycatcher - Muscicapidae

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  • Type

    sound

  • Duration

    00:01:16

  • Shelf mark

    W1CDR0001391 BD14

  • Subjects

    Birds

  • Recording date

    1960s

  • Recording locations

    OS Grid Reference(173500,205500)

  • Recordist

    Shove, Lawrence

  • Species

    Spotted Flycatcher, Muscicapa striata

  • Description

    This is a recording of the song of the spotted flycatcher. The spotted flycatcher is one of the last summer migrants to reach Britain, typically arriving around mid-May and leaving all too soon by the beginning of August, as it heads south for wintering grounds in southern Africa. It is a smart, pale-brown bird with a white breast that is characteristically streaked. Spotted flycatchers are birds of woodland edge and large, mature gardens and parks. Raising their chicks is synchronised to time with the huge glut of insects that emerge in early British summer. Their distinctive hunting technique consists of catching flies from a bare branch or fence-line, from which they fly out, chasing insects before catching them with an audible snap of their bill, followed by a return to exactly the same perch from which they left. Their thin call, which sounds like a creaking wheelbarrow, is heard regularly but the song is more difficult to hear as it is a rather quiet scratchy warble. There are currently no more than 120,000 pairs in Britain and populations of this once common bird have been declining since the 1960s. It is thought the reason for the decline may well be due to problems with their wintering grounds or the protracted migration route.

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