Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Sooty Flycatcher (Bradornis fuliginosus)


French: Gobemouche enfumé German: Schieferbrustschnäpper Spanish: Papamoscas ahumado

Artomyias fuliginosa

J. P. Verreaux and J. B. É. Verreaux

, 1855,



Sister to B. ussheri and both species removed from Muscicapa based on DNA evidence#R; they are sometimes united in Artomyias on basis of long wings and short legs. Often considered monotypic, but birds in E of range (NE DRCongo) are clearly separable, as race minusculus; birds from SW South Sudan and SW Uganda included in latter race, but corroboration needed. Proposed race chapini (S Nigeria) appears indistinguishable from nominate. When placed in Muscicapa, current specific name preoccupied by an older synonym of M. sibirica cacabata (unused due to previous homonymy with Rhipidura fuliginosa), giving place to infuscata (as in HBW); name infuscata has also run into problems of homonymy, when placed in same genus as (older) Agricola infuscatus, again causing return to oldest name for present species, fuliginosus; in hypothetical case with both of these names preoccupied, E race minusculus becomes nominate and W race takes name chapini. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • B. f. fuliginosus (J. P. Verreaux & J. B. É. Verreaux, 1855) – S Nigeria, S Cameroon, extreme SW Central African Republic (Dzanga, Lobaye) and DRCongo (except extreme N, SE and most of extreme S), S to S Congo, NW Angola (Cabinda, and Uíge S to Cuanza Sul and Lunda Sul) and extreme NW Zambia (N Mwinilunga).
  • B. f. minusculus (Grote, 1922) – E DRCongo (E Congo Basin from Bolobo to Uele and Semlike), also SW South Sudan (Aloma Plateau) and SW Uganda, and an old record from N Tanzania (Ukerewe I, SE L Victoria).
  • Descriptive notes

    13 cm; 15–20 g. Has relatively long, pointed wings and slightly forked tail, giving appearance rather like that of a martin (Riparia). Nominate race has head,... read more


    Mostly silent. Song inconspicuous and rarely heard, a medley of rolling, clicking and nasal notes.... read more


    Clearings and other openings in forest, forest edge and riparian woodland. Readily adapts to... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, mostly beetles (Coleoptera), bees, wasps and winged ants (Hymenoptera), flies (Diptera), small butterflies (Lepidoptera) and... read more


    Laying in May and Sept–Oct in Nigeria, Feb in Cameroon, Feb–Mar and Sept–Oct in Gabon, Mar in Angola and Feb in Zambia;... read more


    None recorded.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon to locally common throughout range, possibly locally abundant. Although forest destruction must have affected this species adversely, its... read more

    Recommended citation

    Taylor, B. (2019). Sooty Flycatcher (Bradornis fuliginosus). 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 13 December 2019).