This is a 12-13.5 cm (4.7-5.3 in) long bird. The breeding male is mainly black above and white below, with a large white wing patch, white tail sides and a small forehead patch. The Iberian subspecies iberiae has a larger forehead patch and a pale rump. Non-breeding males, females and juveniles have the black replaced by a pale brown, and may be very difficult to distinguish from other Ficedula flycatchers, particularly the Collared Flycatcher. The bill is black, and has the broad but pointed shape typical of aerial insectivores.

Habitat and Distribution

The Pied Flycatcher has a very large range and population size. They occur in Northeast Africa and South Asia, in places such as Sudan and Afghanistan, as well as countries of the Iberian peninsula. They winter in tropical Africa. These are birds of deciduous woodlands, parks and gardens, with a preference for oak trees.


As well as taking insects in flight, this species hunts caterpillars amongst the oak foliage, and will take berries.


They build an open nest in a tree hole, and will readily adapt to an open-fronted nest box. About 4-10 eggs are laid.

Calls and Songs

The bird 's loud rhythmic and melodious song is characteristic of oak woods in spring.