Animals

European Pied Flycatcher

by Marcia Malory

The European pied flycatcher is a small, migratory, insectivorous bird.

It is a passerine, or perching bird.

It darts from forest perches to catch moths and flies in flight.

When the weather is cold, early in the breeding season, and there are few flying insects, European flycatchers feed on ground creatures such as spiders, beetles and insect larvae.

European Pied Flycatcher, photo by AelwynIt breeds in Europe and Asia and winters in sub-Saharan Africa.

In the summer, European pied flycatchers prefer to live in forests with good tree cover at the level of the canopy but with little shrub layer, such as the oak forests that can be found in Wales.

Males begin to show up at their breeding grounds in mid-April, and immediately begin defending territories and advertising nest sites.

Breeding males have distinct black and white markings.

Females begin to arrive four or five days after the first males.

Males and females then quickly form pairs.

Nests are usually in treeholes.

Sometimes European pied flycatchers will displace tits from their nests.

The female usually incubates the eggs.

Young remain in the nest for about two weeks.

They are fed almost exclusively on insect larvae.