British wildlife recordings

Ficedula hypoleuca : Pied Flycatcher - Muscicapidae

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  • Shelf mark

    W1CDR0001406 BD2

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  • Recording date


  • Recording locations

    Yarner Wood, Devon: OS Grid Reference(277500,78500)

  • Recordist

    Shove, Lawrence

  • Species

    Pied Flycatcher, Ficedula hypoleuca

  • Description

    The song of the male pied flycatcher, recorded at Yarner Wood, Devon. The pied flycatcher is a dapper summer visitor to oak woods in western Britain. The male is slightly smaller than the house sparrow, and is a glossy black and white bird with white wing flashes. The male arrives back from its wintering quarters a couple of weeks earlier than the female, giving it time to establish a territory with its simple, warbling song, and to prospect possible nesting sites. Like the spotted flycatcher, the pied flycatcher often sallies from a perch to catch insects in mid-air, but unlike its more common cousin, rarely returns to the same perch. It also clings to branches whilst looking for caterpillars. When the female arrives, she builds the nest in a tree-hole or nest box, and both adults feed the chicks. The male often maintains a second or even third female nearby but is often less supportive to these additional broods. After the young leave the nest, they and the adults disappear very quickly for the Mediterranean to refuel before finishing the final leg of their journey to Africa. There are 35,000 to 40,000 pairs of British pied flycatchers, and are thought to have expanded their range partly due to the addition of nest boxes in woodlands that have a shortage of natural nest-holes.

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