Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)


French: Gobemouche gris German: Grauschnäpper Spanish: Papamoscas gris

Motacilla striata


, 1764,



Sometimes regarded as conspecific with M. gambagae. W Mediterranean races balearica and tyrrhenica are paler, with less streaking on breast and shorter wings, and differ genetically, leading to suggestion that they might warrant species status#R#R; limited evidence reveals no obvious differences in voice, and further study required. Seven subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. s. striata (Pallas, 1764) – Spotted Flycatcher – Europe E across Ural Mts to W Siberia (R Irtysh) and N Kazakhstan, and NW Africa (N Morocco E to N Tunisia); non-breeding W, E & S Africa.
  • M. s. inexpectata Dementiev, 1932 – Crimea; non-breeding Africa.
  • M. s. neumanni Poche, 1904 – islands in Aegean Sea E to Caucasus and N & W Iran and S to Cyprus and Levant, also C Siberia (R Irtysh E to W Transbaikalia); non-breeding E & S Africa.
  • M. s. sarudnyi Snigirewski, 1928 – E Iran and Turkmenistan E to Tien Shan, Pamirs and N & W Pakistan; non-breeding probably E & S Africa.
  • M. s. mongola Portenko, 1955 – SE Altai E to SE Transbaikalia and N Mongolia; non-breeding probably E & S Africa.
  • M. s. balearica Jordans, 1913 – Balearic Is; non-breeding W & SW Africa.
  • M. s. tyrrhenica Schiebel, 1910 – Mediterranean Flycatcher – Corsica and Sardinia; non-breeding Africa.
  • Descriptive notes

    13·5–14·5 cm; 11·2–21·9g (migrants up to 25·3 g). Nominate race is mousey grey-brown above, paler from forehead to forecrown;... read more


    Song an unobtrusive sequence of short, squeaky, very high-pitched single or disyllabic notes... read more


    Virtually any open woodland or timbered area with raised perches providing an open view. In N... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly flying insects, especially flies (Diptera) and hymenopterans (including bees, wasps and winged ants), also lepidopterans (adults and... read more


    Mid-May to mid-Aug in Europe, mainly May–Jun farther E, and Apr–Jul (mainly mid-May to early Jun) in NW Africa; two broods... read more


    Migratory; all populations winter in sub-Saharan Africa. In W Palearctic, ringing recoveries... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. The commonest and most widespread flycatcher in W Palearctic; estimated European population c. 7,750,000 pairs. Since mid-1960s has declined in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Taylor, B. (2019). Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata). 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 14 December 2019).