Tyrrhenian Spotted Flycatcher – new species

Nearby! Have you seen one?

Do they reach Britain?

In case you have not picked up on this one…

In a nutshell the ‘Spotted Flycatchers’  of the Mediterranean may/should be better seen as a full species. They are polytypic (more than one subspecies). NB a FULL SPECIES – different from the Spotted Flycatcher  (ssp striata) which breed in e.g. Britain.

They could of course by visitors as migrants or vagrants to NW Europe – which would be (very!) interesting.

To read the scoop go here: Visit the site

“Accordingly, we suggest that insular Spotted Flycatchers could be treated as one polytypic species (Muscicapa tyrrhenica Schiebel, 1910) that differs from M. striata in morphology, migration, mitochondrial and nuclear DNA and comprises two subspecies (the nominate and M. t. balearica, von Jordans, 1913) that diverged recently phenotypically and in mitochondrial DNA and but still share the same nuclear alleles.”

and read a great paper by me pals Andrea and Miki with photos. go HERE

Thanks v much to Mark Payne who drew attention to the subject and provided some very useful photos. These (below) where taken on Mallorca, Son Real, Can Pinafort in July 2013, so are Balearic race.

Characters: noted to be PALER and LESS STREAKED (even looking unstreaked below).

Spotted Flycatcher b Balearic Mark P (1 of 1)

Spotted Flycatcher Balearic Mark P (1 of 1) Spotted Flycatcher c Balearic Mark P (1 of 1) Spotted Flycatcher d Balearic Mark P (1 of 1)

Above- all photos of the new species of Balearic Spotted Flycatcher by Mark Payne


Blast from the past:

Vaurie- the books that ‘fathered’ BWP look like this on the subject:

vaurie 1 (1 of 1)vaurie 3 (1 of 1)


Baseline ID

I (MG) have looked more for eastern taxa like neumanni. You can read about that exploration on Shetland HERE.  So here is a nice migrant Spotted Flycatcher, I photographed while guiding on Yell, Shetland in October which got asked a few questions of it’s origins. I assume its striata – a baseline for ID for the others taxa.

spotted-flycatcher-cullivoe-3 spotted-flycatcher-cullivoe-4


4 thoughts on “Tyrrhenian Spotted Flycatcher – new species

  1. Andrea Corso

    Martin the English name should be Tyrrhenian Spotted Flycatcher as tyrrhenica is the nominate and has nomenclature priority!! While balearica is presumably a subsp of it (but I am not pretty sure as it could also be a third species). Wait for what regard field ID our paper soon to come in Dutch Birding. We were studying these group since 15y and arrived in time to publish morphology paper but late for our genetic results…

    1. Martin Garner Post author

      Following your pioneering lead my friend I will change the name. You have years of research and discovery in ‘your zone’ I know- wish I was with you of course but wishing for great things still for you…

      1. Andrea Corso

        You are the inspiring Pioneer for me and a massive numbers of birders !!! I just learned : Never stop questioning myself never stop asking questions never stop surprising ourselves! You’ll come again in the future to Linosa. WE all want you there 🙂

      2. Andrea Corso

        However Martin…my role in all these its pretty marginal as most of the work is due to Miki Viganò…the magic boy

Leave a Reply to Andrea Corso Cancel reply