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Ashy Flycatcher | Muscicapa caerulescens

The Ashy Flycatcher is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Muscicapidae bird family group which includes birds such as Thrushes, Robins, Chats, Old World Flycatchers.

The description for the Ashy Flycatcher (Latin name Muscicapa caerulescens) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Muscicapa caerulescens can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 691 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 921. You will find a picture of the Ashy Flycatcher on page 753.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

This bird is known as Blue-grey Flycatcher in the Roberts 6th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Ashy Flycatcher between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition

The Ashy Flycatcher is known in Afrikaans as Blougrysvlie?vanger.

The Ashy Flycatcher has a height of 15 cms and weighs around 16 gms. The head is coloured blue, grey while the bill is coloured black. The Muscicapa caerulescens has a grey coloured throat, grey legs and a blue, grey coloured back. The eyes are brown.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is blue, grey

Eyes are brown

Bill is black

Legs are grey

Throat is grey

Back is blue, grey

Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground

The Ashy Flycatcher is usually seen hunting for food within the tree foliage

The Muscicapa caerulescens attacks its prey aerially and feeds on wing or takes the prey to a secluded venue where it is killed, torn into small pieces and eaten

This bird hunts for small reptiles such as lizards, geckos and bush snakes. The Ashy Flycatcher strikes poisonous snakes on the head with one fatal blow which kills the snake instantly. There have been cases were this bird has been killed by a snake while hunting. Some birds have been blinded by Cobra venom.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten .

The Muscicapa caerulescens forages mainly on the ground or at the base of trees, and low down in the shrubs eating mostly fruits and seeds.

Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Ashy Flycatcher is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 2 to 4 eggs and they are coloured yellow.

The bird builds its nest within a tree cavity just a few meters above the ground. The hole in the tree is normally reused in the next nesting season.

The Ashy Flycatcher is mainly found in light and densely wooded forests, where there are Mopane trees.

The bird is found in the African bushveld

This bird is very common in most of the Southern African Forests

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

This bird is usually seen in small family groups or in large flocks

The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition * edited by PAR Hockey, WRJ Dean and PG Ryan, published by "The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund."

copyright: Tony Roocroft +27-11-454-0105

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