Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Green-backed Flycatcher (Ficedula elisae)


French: Gobemouche à dos vert German: Grünrückenschnäpper Spanish: Papamoscas de Elise
Other common names: Chinese Flycatcher, Elisa's Flycatcher

Muscicapa elisae


, 1922,

eastern imperial cemetery near Peking


Until recently considered conspecific with F. narcissina and F. owstoni, but genetically, vocally and morphologically distinct#R, differing from F. narcissina in its yellow lower eyelid (ns[2]); short narrow vs long broad supercilium (2); dull greyish-green vs black crown to back (3); no vs strong orange tinge to breast (2); yellow vs whitish belly (ns[2]); song with highest maximum frequency (2) and largest frequency range (3)#R; and from F. owstoni in its yellow lower eyelid (2); short narrow vs long broad supercilium (ns[1]); greener upperparts (1); yellower underparts (1); song with highest maximum frequency (3) and largest frequency range (3)#R. Recently described taxon “F. beijingnica” is a first-summer (second-calendar-year) male of present species. Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

E China (NE Hebei and Shanxi); non-breeding S Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia.

Descriptive notes

13–13.5 cm; 11–12 g, male on average larger than female. Medium-sized flycatcher. Male is distinctive, having bright yellow lores and prominent eyering, yellow supercilium (... read more


Song a rapid series of warbled phrases, frequently repeated; broadly similar to songs of F.... read more


Temperate and subtropical broadleaf and conifer forests. Breeds in mixed deciduous forest,... read more

Food and feeding

Few data on diet, but presumably small arthropods, probably some fruits (berries). Forages on ground, in bushy undergrowth and low... read more


Season May–Jul. Territorial. Nest cup-shaped, of sedges, leaves and horsetails (Equisetum), placed 0·4–8 m, mean 2·5 m) from... read more


Long-distance migrant. Leaves breeding areas mostly between Sept and late Oct (a few not until Nov... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Reasonably large breeding range in E China, where its numbers, although not quantified, appear to be more or less stable, with no... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N., Christie, D.A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Green-backed Flycatcher (Ficedula elisae). 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 28 February 2020).