Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Sapphire Flycatcher (Ficedula sapphira)


French: Gobemouche saphir German: Saphirschnäpper Spanish: Papamoscas zafiro

M[uscicapula]. sapphira


, 1843,

Darjeeling, India


Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • F. s. sapphira (Blyth, 1843) – E Himalayas from E Nepal E to S China (SE Xizang E to Sichuan and N Yunnan), NE India (S to S Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram) and N & E Myanmar.
  • F. s. laotiana (Delacour & Greenway, 1939) – S China (W Yunnan), N & C Laos and NW Vietnam (W Tonkin); non-breeding also NW Thailand.
  • F. s. tienchuanensis Cheng Tsohsin, 1964 – NC China (S Gansu, S Shaanxi and WC & S Sichuan).
  • Descriptive notes

    10–12 cm; 7–8 g. Small, delicate, slim and small-billed flycatcher, male with blue upperparts. Male nominate race breeding has bright ultramarine-blue forehead,... read more


    Song a series of short rattles introduced by several thin or high-pitched notes, “tssyi tchrrrt,... read more


    Moist evergreen broadleaf hill and montane forests, breeding at 2100–2800 m in Himalayas and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet not well known, but includes small invertebrates and larvae. Usually solitary or in pairs, but joins mixed-species flocks in winter.... read more


    Season end Apr to Jun. Nest a large cup-shaped strucure of moss, plant fibres, lichens, fern stems and a few feathers, placed in depression... read more


    Migratory. Altitudinal migrant, moving to lower levels in winter; those of nominate race breeding... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common to uncommon in N Indian Subcontinent; rare in China. Uncommon in Myanmar, Laos and and N Vietnam.

    Recommended citation

    Clement, P. (2020). Sapphire Flycatcher (Ficedula sapphira). 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).