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  • Writer's pictureCarl Mckie

European Pied Flycatchers in the UK

Updated: Jul 2, 2023

TheEuropean pied flycatcher is a small, black-and-white bird that is a summer visitor to the UK. They breed in mature woodlands, mainly to the west of the country, and spend the winter in West Africa.

European pied flycatcher, Ficedula hypoleuca,male breeding plumage, diffuse background
European pied flycatcher, Ficedula hypoleuca,male breeding plumage

Pied flycatchers are slightly smaller than a house sparrow. The male is mostly black above and white below, with a bold white patch on the folded wing. The female has the same basic patterning, but is browner in colour.

European pied flycatcher, Ficedula hypoleuca,female breeding plumage, diffuse background
European pied flycatcher, Ficedula hypoleuca,female breeding plumage,

Pied flycatchers are insectivores, and their diet consists of flies, wasps, and other insects. They catch their prey in flight, using their long, pointed bills and sharp talons.

Pied flycatchers are cavity nesters, and they will often use nest boxes provided by birdwatchers. The female lays 5-7 eggs, which she incubates for 12-14 days. The young birds fledge after 16-18 days.

Pied flycatchers are a declining species in the UK. The main reasons for their decline are habitat loss and climate change. Habitat loss is a problem because pied flycatchers need mature woodlands with plenty of deadwood for nesting. Climate change is a problem because it is causing the UK to become warmer, which is making it more difficult for pied flycatchers to find food.

There are a number of things that can be done to help pied flycatchers. One thing is to plant more trees and shrubs, especially in areas that are prone to flooding. Another thing is to provide nest boxes for pied flycatchers. Finally, people can help to raise awareness of the plight of pied flycatchers and encourage others to take action to help them.


European pied flycatcher, Ficedula hypoleuca,male breeding plumage, diffuse background
European pied flycatcher, Ficedula hypoleuca,male breeding plumage,


Here are some additional facts about pied flycatchers:

  • The scientific name for the pied flycatcher is Ficedula hypoleuca.

  • Pied flycatchers are about 12 centimeters long and weigh about 10 grams.

  • Pied flycatchers are monogamous, and they pair for life.

  • Pied flycatchers migrate to West Africa for the winter.

  • The population of pied flycatchers in the UK has declined by about 70% since the 1970s.

European pied flycatcher, Ficedula hypoleuca,female breeding plumage, diffuse background
European pied flycatcher, Ficedula hypoleuca,female breeding plumage,



European pied flycatcher, Ficedula hypoleuca,male breeding plumage, diffuse background
European pied flycatcher, Ficedula hypoleuca,male breeding plumage,











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