The spotted flycatcher is a badly named bird because only juveniles have spots. Adults are a sombre grey-brown above and off-white below.
They are usually the last of the summer migrants to arrive here and are only starting to appear now after a tough journey from central or southern Africa. One bird ringed in Co Tipperary was found dead in Angola. They are most easily identified by their actions rather than their plumage. On sunny days they perch on a bare twig looking for insects. They then launch themselves in pursuit and this often involves spectacular manoeuvres. On dull or wet days when few insects are on the wing they forage through foliage and the females take a certain amount of wood lice and small snails to build up calcium for egg production. They have been declining in numbers in both Britain and Ireland.
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