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© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, M. & W. von Wright: Svenska fåglar (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland). Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.

Pied Flycatcher

Ficedula hypoleuca

  • Name also: European Pied Flycatcher
  • Family: Flycatchers – Muscicapidae
  • Appearance: A small, busy bird, often seen in gardens and parks. Males have black or blackish upper parts, but females are browner. Both sexes have white underparts and varied white markings on their wings.
  • Size: Length 12–13.5 cm, weight 10–17 g.
  • Nest: In a nest box or a hole in a tree. Made of dry leaves, pine bark scales, grass and roots, lined with thin straw and hair. Often takes over the occupied nest of a tit family by scattering pine bark scales over the tits’ eggs so that the parents no longer recognise their nest.
  • Breeding: Typically 5–8 eggs laid in May, incubated by female for 13–15 days. Fledglings remain in nest for 16 days.
  • Distribution: Nests throughout Finland. Total breeding population estimated at 250,000–700,000 pairs.
  • Migration: Nocturnal. Leaves Finland August–September, returning May–June after wintering in tropical Africa.
  • Diet: Invertebrates.
  • Calls: Warning call “pit”, song bright and rhythmic.

Breeding male Pied Flycatchers have white underparts and black or dark upper parts except for a white wing bar. The dark colouring on their backs may very from deep black to dark brown according to their age and individual genetic variations. Very occasionally males are observed with brown colouring indistinguishable from females. Males also have a small white patch just above their beaks. The dark parts of females’ plumage are brown. They have smaller white wing bars than males, and their underparts are a dull creamy colour. Pied Flycatchers’ dark tails have narrow white edges. Birds of both sexes moult in July–August, after which males resemble females. Pied Flycatchers have black legs and beaks. Their irises are dark brown.

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