Collared Flycatcher in NE England?

Slipped under the radar?


Ian Boustead sent these startling images of a May-time (2008) black and white ficedula flycatcher. So please- there are quite a few folk who know nuances of these birds in spring.


What do you think?

Thanks to Ian for a very honest and helpful amount:

“Hi Martin,

The bird was found by Nick Preston in the South Gare Shrike bushes on the 28th May 2008. It arrived in a fall which included a Red-breasted and 7 Spotted Flycatchers.

I arrived down at the Gare the following day after work. The bird had by this time moved to some roadside bushes by the Blast Furnace pools.

There were vague rumours at the time that the bird might possibly be a Collared Flycatcher. The bird was beyond normal DSLR range and I felt it would be prudent to capture as many digiscoped images of the bird as possible. I did not take any notes. I was able to capture 70 digiscoped images in total of the bird. A lot of the images are soft due to camera shake, resulting from the combination of magnification, poor light and exposed viewing area.

On reviewing the images, however, due to the lack of information in the literature I assumed that the lack of a collar in a 2CY male ruled out Collared Flycatcher. It was only seeing the recent articles about the autumn adult male Collared Flycatchers in Shetland (see HERE) and the UAE (see HERE) that the alarm bells started to ring.

From the images, points in favour of Collared Flycatcher:

  • Extent of white primary patch
  • Extent of white above bill
  • Pale rump
  • Outermost tail feather appears to be white along the full length of outer web. (See image below)

Call: Neither Nick nor I heard the bird call (like a Siberian Chiffchaff on Collared Flycatchers).”


from MG:

Both Oscar Campbell an I jumped straight into Collared Flycatcher possibility zone- unsurprisingly. We think (Oscar and I) that:

The white on the p bases looks too deep for any Pied (especially for such an obvious 1st summer  – 2cy) and is clearly reaches close to p2 or p3, way beyond what 1st summer Pied would show.

The clearly extensive white forehead patch and ghost rump look spot on and no problem with a white outer fringe on t6 on the tail for Collared. The most parsimonious answer has got to be that!


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