Fun African Paradise Flycatcher Facts For Kids

Vineet Adnala
Oct 20, 2022 By Vineet Adnala
Originally Published on Aug 12, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Gowri Rao
Learn about this marvelous bird from our African paradise flycatcher facts.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.8 Min

The African paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone viridis) is a colorful species of bird found south of the Sahara. This bird comes in five variants. They are found in abundance within local villages, gardens, and orchards. The African paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone viridis) is a perching bird, meaning that they are often seen sitting upright on trees and catching flying insects to fill their tummies. They are beautiful to look at and the male has long tail streamers. They have dark blue glossy heads with chestnut wings and body and the underparts are dark grays. The female African paradise flycatcher does not have a long tail and their bodies are brownish in color.

This bird is well known for its melodious vocal tones as well as for its craftsmanship when it comes to building its nest. While strolling in a park with your family, you might hear this beautiful bird. They sing in tunes of 'zeet zwyat' and the way they vocalize differs from range to range. However, if you are looking for a peaceful time in the wild, you might find this bird to be particularly noisy.

For more interesting flycatcher facts read about the great crested flycatcher and vermilion flycatcher

African Paradise Flycatcher Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an African paradise flycatcher?

The African paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone viridis) is a beautiful bird from the family of Monarchidae. They are loud and noisy birds. They are passerine birds and therefore sit upright. These birds are popular amongst birdwatchers due to their prominent tail streamers and vibrant shades of color. They have chestnut-brown bodies, with white feathers and the males have really long tails. They sit on trees and love catching their dinner flying midair.

What class of animal does an African paradise flycatcher belong to?

The African paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone viridis) is a bird and like other birds comes from the class of Aves. They are unique-looking birds. Birds from this species are often migratory however the African paradise flycatcher is not. They are found in various parts of the world.

How many African paradise flycatchers are there in the world?

There is no exact number available regarding their population, however, this species has a status of Least Concern.  

Where does an African paradise flycatcher live?

The African paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone viridis) can be seen in a diverse range of habitats. This specific species has a population range that can be seen throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and South Africa. The family of Monarchs on the other hand is widely distributed across the continent of Asia such as in Taiwan, India, Japan, and Mauritius.

What is an African paradise flycatcher's habitat?

The African paradise flycatcher distribution is in savanna, dense forests, open forests, gardens, villages, riverine, woodlands, mangroves, and riparian forests.

Who do African paradise flycatchers live with?

Flycatchers select one mate while breeding and spend the rest of their lives with each other. They live with their mate in nests. Both male and female African paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone viridis) species enjoy building these nests and they build their nests high up in trees, about 3.2-9.8 ft (1-3 m) off the ground. Their cup-shaped nests are built finely so that the pair can lay eggs and protect them.

How long does an African paradise flycatcher live?

According to the bird ringing tool which is used to study birds by researchers, their average lifespan lies between 8-10 years.

How do they reproduce?

The male African paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone viridis) tries to woo the female by showing off its tail streamers. Females are very picky and choose males with the longest tail streamers. The tail often is elongated during the breeding season which is from January to October. A rather adorable sight to witness is the male doing a little dance to attract the female flycatcher. Once they select their mate, they stay with them for the rest of their lives. They share the responsibility of incubating the eggs as well as building their nest equally. The female lays around two to five eggs in the nest.

What is their conservation status?

Currently, these fly catcher birds are not threatened by many factors and their population is stable. Their conservation status is Least Concern.

African Paradise Flycatcher Fun Facts

What do African paradise flycatchers look like?

These magnificent birds, coming from the family of Monarchs, sit up as they are passerine birds. There are many other subspecies of this bird with vibrant colors. There are 10 subspecies of the African paradise flycatcher found in the south of the Sahara region. The adult male has a blueish head with tiny legs, underparts are grayish, and their chestnut wings have a prominent white striped along the end. Their bills are blueish in color and they have innocent brown eyes. The female body has a smaller crest and her plumage is not as vibrant as the male plumage. Her plumage is a duller shade of brown and has gray underparts. A young southern flycatcher from the Monarchidae family looks very similar to an adult female, but with a shorter crest. The juvenile on the other hand has a duller plumage than that of a young African paradise flycatcher.

African Paradise Flycatcher perched on a branch

How cute are they?

The African paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone viridis) is extremely cute. Their varying shades of feathers can attract anyone. They can often be seen sitting on trees with their perched-up body and short legs. The adult male also has tail streamers which are enhanced during the mating season. Often seen in southern Africa, these birds are appealing and very fascinating to observe. A really cute variant of this species is the African paradise flycatcher that is iridescent with a crested gray head with blue rings around its eyes as well as a blue beak. These birds look marvelous.

How do they communicate?

The African paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone viridis) is a very vocal bird. They communicate using calls and songs. The songs and tones differ depending on the range. The African paradise flycatcher call is complex compared to the Asian sub-species. They communicate via body language as well.

In order to initiate courtship, the adult male will get into fights to show off his wings and plumage. Their tail is also displayed to woo the females. An adult male often approaches the female with its body perched upon its short legs and its crest and calls softly to the female by keeping its beaks wide open so that the female can see the vibrant color inside its beak! They might even dance in the breeding season to attract other females.  

How big is an African paradise flycatcher?

The adult male flycatcher bird is around 6 in (15.24 cm) long. However during the breeding season, due to the length of their tail streamers, they appear bigger. This bird is 10 times smaller compared to the size of a pigeon. These birds are not very big compared to other species such as Indian paradise flycatchers as their tail is way bigger in comparison.

How fast can an African paradise flycatcher run?

There is no information regarding how fast they run. These birds are not big on running, but they are highly skilled in catching their prey mid-air. You can witness this bird hunting for food by hopping branch to branch or by hovering over its prey. The African paradise flycatcher is really swift and fast.

How much does an African paradise flycatcher weigh?

The African paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone viridis) is found in various habitats and weighs around 0.5 oz (15 g). They are small and lightweight birds. The adult male length is more than that of the female. This is not because of their diet but because their tails are double the size of their body during mating season.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names given to the different sexes. Their scientific name for an African paradise flycatcher is Terpsiphone viridis. If you want to identify the sex of flycatcher birds, look at the plumage, the underparts of their body, their crest as well as the color of their wings. They are sexually dimorphic. The differences are quite prominent especially when the color of their wings and plumage and tail size are taken into account.

What would you call a baby African paradise flycatcher?

There is no specific name assigned to a young African paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone viridis). They are referred to as chicks like other baby birds. The offspring are really cared for because both the adult males and females take time to build a finely crafted nest and equally contribute to the incubation of their eggs.

What do they eat?

The African paradise flycatcher diet mostly consists of insects. However, these insectivores may also feed on spiders, beetles, moths, hymenopterans, cicadas as well mantid. Apart from insects, this bird might feed on berries too.

Are they dangerous?

No, a fly catcher bird is harmless to humans.

Would they make a good pet?

Not really. These flycatcher birds are wild and prefer to stay in particular habitats. There is no information available suggesting that they would make good pets.

Did you know...

Unlike the subspecies of African paradise-flycatcher (Plumbeiceps), the Terpsiphone viridis is an infra-African species meaning they do not migrate and reside permanently in Africa.

The African paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone viridis) is endemic, meaning that they are native to Africa. Another endemic species is the Japanese paradise flycatcher.

Their eggs take up to 13-15 days to hatch. They lay around two to three eggs per clutch.

Why is it called the African paradise flycatcher?

The South African birds-paradise flycatcher is called this because this species is only found in the southern African range. Their description of their scientific name 'terpsi' stands for 'delighting in' and 'phonos' refers to 'voice'. This is because these birds are very vocal.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our flycatcher facts and scissor-tailed flycatcher facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable African paradise flycatcher coloring pages.

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Written by Vineet Adnala

Bachelor of Engineering specializing in Computer Engineering

Vineet Adnala picture

Vineet AdnalaBachelor of Engineering specializing in Computer Engineering

Vineet has a Bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Mumbai. With expertise in digital marketing, SEO, content creation, social media marketing, and content strategy. Vineet is also a talented painter and digital artist, with a passion for cooking, music, and football.

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