Spotted flycatcher Muscicapa striata

Spotted flycatchers are medium-sized songbirds of open woodland, parks and gardens. A streaky, greyish-brown bird, the spotted flycatcher is pale underneath, with a streaky crown and breast. Juvenile birds have darker brown feathers and white spots.


They have a relatively long tail which is often flicked while they sit patiently on a perch waiting for a chance to fly out to catch their insect prey mid-air. The favourite foods of the spotted flycatcher include moths, butterflies, bees and, unsurprisingly, flies such as damselflies or craneflies. During the breeding season, they can be seen across the UK, but leave here in August for their wintering grounds in tropical Africa.


  • Length: 14cm
  • Wingspan: 24cm
  • Weight: 17g
  • Average Lifespan: 2 years


Classified in the UK as a Red List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review and as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.


A widespread summer visitor.

When to see

April – September


  • One of the latest summer migrants to return to Britain, they don’t reappear on their breeding territories until June and may only be around for a couple of months, just long enough to rear their young.
  • When a spotted flycatcher catches a stinging insect, they rub it against their perch to remove the stinger before eating them.

Common name

Spotted flycatcher

Species name

Muscicapa striata

IUCN Red List status

Least concern

When to see in Scotland

April – September

Where to see in Scotland

Scottish Wildlife Trust reserves such as Carstramon Wood or Falls of Clyde.

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