Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Ashy Flycatcher (Fraseria caerulescens)


French: Gobemouche à lunettes German: Hartlaubschnäpper Spanish: Papamoscas cenizo

Butalis cærulescens


, 1865,

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


Six subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • F. c. nigrorum (Collin & E. J. O. Hartert, 1927) – SE Guinea (Macenta area), Sierra Leone, Liberia, SW Ivory Coast, S Ghana and SW Togo (Missahohe).
  • F. c. brevicauda (Ogilvie-Grant, 1907) – N Benin (Pendjari National Park), possibly extreme E Burkina Faso, and S Nigeria and S Cameroon E to S South Sudan, S & W Uganda and W Kenya (Kakamega), S to NW Angola (S to Cuanza Sul) and S DRCongo.
  • F. c. cinereola (Hartlaub#R & Finsch, 1870) – S Somalia, Kenya (E of Rift) and E Tanzania.
  • F. c. impavida (Clancey, 1957) – C & SW Angola (Lunda Norte S to Huíla, Namibe and Cunene) E to S DRCongo (Shaba), W Tanzania and N Mozambique, S to N Namibia (including Caprivi Strip), N Botswana, and Zimbabwe (except SE).
  • F. c. vulturna (Clancey, 1957) – S Malawi, C Mozambique (S to R Limpopo), SE Zimbabwe, N South Africa (Limpopo and Mpumalanga Provinces) and N Swaziland.
  • F. c. caerulescens (Hartlaub, 1865) – S Mozambique, S Swaziland, and E South Africa (N KwaZulu-Natal S to R Great Fish, in Eastern Cape Province).
  • Descriptive notes

    13–15 cm; 10–21 g. Nominate race has crown and upperparts, including ear-coverts, neck side and scapulars, bluish-grey; black loral line (extending slightly... read more


    Song in Gabon a series of shrill, chattering notes or a brief, piercing, buzzy “teep-tup-tyup-teep... read more


    Wide variety of forest and woodland types. Occurs at forest edges, penetrating forest only when it... read more

    Food and feeding

    Food mostly insects, including beetles (Coleoptera), files (Diptera), grasshoppers (Orthoptera), adult and larval lepidopterans (especially... read more


    Breeds in Dec in Nigeria, Oct in Gabon, and Feb–Jun and Sept–Nov in DRCongo; Jan and Nov in Rwanda, and Feb, May, Jun and Aug... read more


    Possible movements recorded only in S of range. Evidence for altitudinal migration on Mpumalanga... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Widespread, and uncommon to common throughout range. Occurs at average density of 3 pairs/km² in NE Gabon; estimated population in S Mozambique more... read more

    Recommended citation

    Taylor, B. (2020). Ashy Flycatcher (Fraseria caerulescens). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 25 February 2020).