Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)
M. striata breeds across most of the Western and Central Palearctic. It winters south of the Sahara, passing through the Sahel on migration. In Sussex it is a bird of woodland edges and man-made habitats such as churchyards, cemeteries, orchards, farmyards, gardens and parks. Woods with mature birch or ash and a diverse structure with features such as rides and glades are important, whilst ivy-clad trees make safe sites for nesting. It is often found near the edge of lakes, ponds and watercourses that are rich in insect life.
The future for M. striata in both Sussex and Britain does not look promising. It seems that the problems on the wintering grounds and migration route, including droughts in the Sahel region south of the Sahara, will have to be addressed, if possible, if the species’ fortunes are to be reversed. Here in Sussex, if more of our woodland can be brought back into suitable management, increasing the length of ride edge and the area of glade habitat and ensuring that ivy is not controlled by stem cutting, it will at least help those that make it here maximize their breeding success.
Black, R. (2014). Spotted Flycatcher. The Birds of Sussex. Thetford: British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) Books on behalf of the Sussex Ornithological Society, pp. 502-503.
Parmenter, T. (1996). Spotted Flycatcher. Birds of Sussex. Sussex Ornithological Society, pp. 477-478.