Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

European Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca)


French: Gobemouche noir German: Trauerschnäpper Spanish: Papamoscas cerrojillo
Other common names: Pied Flycatcher

Motacilla hypoleuca


, 1764,



Sometimes placed in genus Muscicapa. Hybridizes with F. albicollis in areas of sympatry in C & E Europe. Race speculigera has recently been subject to a series of endeavours to determine its diagnosability from phenotypically very similar race iberiae#R#R#R#R#R, in part relating to its claimed status as a full species; however, such differences as can be found (evidence varies with study) all minor and within the scope of subspecific variation. Race tomensis intergrades with nominate over large areas in E Europe. Race tomensis listed in HBW as sibirica, but that name is a junior primary homonym and thus permanently invalid#R. Four subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • F. h. hypoleuca (Pallas, 1764) – European Pied Flycatcher – W, N & C Europe from Britain and Scandinavia E to W Russia (Ural Mts), S to W France, N Italy, Romania and Ukraine; non-breeding W & WC Africa.
  • F. h. tomensis H. E. Johansen, 1916 – W & SC Siberia (E to upper R Yenisey, S to extreme N Kazakhstan); non-breeding W and WC Africa.
  • F. h. iberiae (Witherby, 1928) – Iberian Peninsula; non-breeding W Africa.
  • F. h. speculigera (Bonaparte, 1850) – Atlas Pied Flycatcher – NW Africa (mountains from N Morocco S to High Atlas and E to N Tunisia); non-breeding W Africa, where recorded only in N Senegal (possibly only passage migrant) and Ivory Coast.
  • Descriptive notes

    13 cm; 9·7–22·2 g. Male nominate race breeding has small white patch on forehead (often divided into two white spots; sometimes absent), top of head (down... read more


    Song a short, cheerful phrase of c. 15 notes, typically alternating in pitch and often ending in... read more


    Breeds in most well-wooded and forest habitats, so long as suitable cavities for nest-sites present... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mostly insects, both flying and non-flying ones, especially hymenopterans, flies (Diptera), beetles (Coleoptera) and adult and larval... read more


    Late Apr to end Jun in Europe and to early Jun in NW Africa; usually single-brooded. Essentially monogamous, but successive polygyny with... read more


    Migratory; all races believed to winter in W Africa, some extending to WC Africa. Nominate race, at... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Total European population estimated at c. 5,250,000 breeding pairs, with a further 3,000,000 or more pairs in European Russia.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Taylor, B. & Christie, D.A. (2019). European Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca). 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 6 December 2019).