Small to medium-sized flycatcher, with similar general characters to European Pied Flycatcher. Adult male breeding more boldly pied than European Pied Flycatcher and Semi-collared Flycatcher, with white forehead, striking full collar, complete and broad wing-bar, and rump-patches.
Non-breeding male, female, and immature all greyer above, cleaner white below, with more complete wing-bar and wider tertial-fringes, but similar to Semicollared Flycatcher. All have almost completely dark tail, usually lacking white edges.
Sexes dissimilar in breeding plumage, marked seasonal vareation in male.
In continental middle latitudes of west Palearctic, in temperate and warm temperate climates. A bird of warmer more continental regions, more attached to crowns of trees rather than their lower branches, and less frequently on ground.
Ficedula albicollis is a summer visitor, mainly to eastern and central Europe, with its entire global breeding range confined to the region. Its European breeding population is very large (>1,400,000 pairs), and was stable between 1970-1990. Although there were declines in a few marginal populations during 1990-2000, key populations in the core of the range-notably Romania, Russia and Ukraine – were stable or increased, and the species underwent a small increase overall.
This flycatcher is breeding in central and eastern Europe, from north-eastern France to south-western Russia and from southern Italy to Gotland in the Baltic Sea. It inhabits different types of forest, but most frequently deciduous forests, especially old oak (Quercus) forests. It is wintering in southern East Africa, just south of the Equator. The population of the European Union (12 Member States) is estimated at 20000-35000 breeding pairs, which represents 4-8% of the global population of this species (EBCC Atlas of European Breeding Birds). This bird seems to be especially sensitive to the type of forest exploitation, and modern forestry methods are definitely detrimental.
Arthropods, flying and non-flying, during breeding season, larval Lepidoptera important. Food obtained by sallying out from perch after flying prey, by picking directly from leaves and twigs, and from ground.
Seems to be unable to recognize motionless insects as prey.
This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 1,000,000-10,000,000 km2. It has a large global population estimated to be 2,900,000-4,900,000 individuals (BirdLife International in prep.). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]
Breeding starts may to mid June in Central Europe. Nest site is a natural or artificial hole in tree, wall, or building. Preferred height above ground up to 15 m, rarely close to ground. Nest is a cup of dry grass, leaves, and stalks, lined with fine grass. 5-7 eggs incubation by female for 12-14 days. Young fledge after 15-18 days.
Trans-Saharan migrant, wintering in Africa, mainly south of equator to c. 20°S.
Autumn heading from breeding grounds in southern Germany is narrowly confined, SSE to Italy, apparently followed by non-stop flight from Italy over Mediterranean and Sahara, as few records from Mediterranean islands and North Africa. In contrast to autumn, numerous spring records from Sahara, Mediterranean, and North Africa; heaviest passage appears to be through east Mediterranean. Autumn departure from breeding grounds mainly August; return mainly from mid-April to late May.
Records in Britain mostly on east coast: of 15 records, 1947-85, 14 between 4 May and 6 June, 1 in September; seasonal bias likely to arise, at least in part, from more distinctive spring than autumn plumage. For similar reason, nearly all records in Britain, and elsewhere away from breeding grounds, are of males.
- spanwidth min.: 15 cm
- spanwidth max.: 17 cm
- size min.: 12 cm
- size max.: 13 cm
- incubation min.: 12 days
- incubation max.: 14 days
- fledging min.: 15 days
- fledging max.: 18 days
- broods 1
- eggs min.: 4
- eggs max.: 7
- Conservation Status