Fun Flycatcher Facts For Kids

Divya Raghav
May 17, 2023 By Divya Raghav
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Isobel Murphy
Fact-checked by Shikha Sharma
Flycatcher facts about a species of passerine bird found throughout North and South America.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.2 Min

The bountiful and varied passerine birds of the flycatchers family can be found in regions across North and South America. A flycatcher is one of the many perching birds of the order Passeriformes, that catch flying insects and they are from the largest ever bird family, with a whopping 400 different species.

The classification of these birds can be a little confusing. They are in the most abundant family of birds in the Aves classification, across both the US and Canada. They were once a part of the Muscicapidae family before becoming a part of the New World family (Tyrannidae). Many specialists classify thrushes, warblers, and babblers as part of the Muscicapidae family, and Old World flycatchers are divided into two subfamilies: Muscicapinae (typical flycatchers) and Monarchinae (monarch flycatchers). All members of this large family differ widely in form, style, scale, and color. Many tyrant flycatchers have a slight resemblance to Old World flycatchers, however, they are not related. These birds belong to the Tyranni (suboscines) suborder, meaning that they lack the advanced vocal ability of most other songbirds.

As you enjoy some flycatcher facts here, including Amazonian royal flycatcher facts and vermilion flycatcher facts, why not explore our articles about the great crested flycatcher or the vermilion flycatcher to learn about different flycatcher birds in even more detail?

Flycatcher Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a flycatcher?

Tyrannidae, or tyrant flycatchers, are a genus of passerine birds found in North and South America.

What class of animal does a flycatcher belong to?

These songbirds belong to the class of Aves.

How many flycatchers are there in the world?

The exact flycatcher population around the world is not yet known.

Where does a flycatcher live?

Different subspecies are found in different areas, for example, great crested cormorant flycatchers prefer open broadleaf habitats over thick forests for breeding.

What is a flycatcher's habitat?

Forest-dwelling great crested flycatchers prefer deciduous or mixed-deciduous woodlands. This species can also be found in semi-open canopy or woodland edge ecosystems as well as in urban areas with big trees. Flycatchers will check out forests with dead trees and natural cavities during the breeding season too.

Who do flycatchers live with?

Flycatchers are normally solitary birds when they are not breeding, though small groups of males may flock together during winter.

How long does a flycatcher live?

The great crested flycatcher is a bird that can live for between two and 10 years. Some birds have even been known to live for 14 years, but this is not a common occurrence.

How do they reproduce?

Males are seen protecting their breeding territories by making noisy calls to compete with other males. Males also chase females through the trees as part of a courtship ritual. The nest is normally built 20-50 ft (6.1-15.24 m) above ground level. The nest can either be built in a hollow in a tree or a hole made by a woodpecker. Birdhouses, drainpipes, and hollow fence posts are also examples of artificial nesting sites used by flycatchers. Both sexes assist in constructing the nest to hold the eggs. Items like weeds, brush, rootlets, strips of bark, feathers, and other pieces of debris serve as the base for a flycatcher's nest, and it is then lined with daintier materials. The female then lays eggs in this nest, and the average clutch size of the flycatcher species is between four and eight eggs.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of this wildlife species is currently Least Concern.

Flycatcher Fun Facts

What do flycatchers look like?

This bird has a broad, rounded, and slightly crested dark gray head. Their bills are thick and high and are often black with a pale base. The gray color on the top of their head is quite dark, but this coloring lightens on their neck and breast, contrasting with their bright yellow belly and underside. They also have dark olive coloring on their back blending with dark or light flight feathers with white tips. Their tail feathers and secondary wing feathers are a rusty red color and their legs and feet range in color from dark brown to purple.

A flycatcher bird on a branch.

How cute are they?

These birds are considered very cute and are really smooth, almost silky to look at. These birds are super cute and they have even caught the attention of several wildlife-loving artists!

How do they communicate?

Great-crested flycatchers interact using sounds and body language. The 'wree-eep' calls of this small species are conspicuous, noisy, and somewhat raspy. A shorter version of this call goes 'wit-wit-wit' and is often observed during territorial disputes. Males offer performances of beautiful songs, especially at dawn, during their breeding season to establish their territories. If an intruder to their territory does not flee, great crested flycatchers will resort to physical violence to scare the intruder away. Courtship practices of these flycatchers are also quite aggressive, as males chase prospective mates through the air, frequently into a nesting cavity. Great crested flycatchers, like other birds, use their senses of sight, sound, and touch to navigate their surroundings.

How big is a flycatcher?

Adult great crested flycatchers have a wingspan of about 13 in (34 cm) and a length of 6.7-8.3 in (17-21 cm). It is around half the size of an average red fox.

How fast can a flycatcher fly?

The flight speed of the flycatcher bird is not yet known. Regardless, these birds have a good flying speed that they use to catch prey and to cover long distances in wildlife.

How much does a flycatcher weigh?

The flycatcher species weigh between 0.4-0.5 oz (11-14 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Female and male flycatchers do not have different specific names.

What would you call a baby flycatcher?

All species of flycatchers have babies that are called 'chicks'.

What do they eat?

They eat insects and other invertebrates. They also eat small berries and other small fruits, these are the primary foods of great crested flycatchers. Among their primary prey are worms, moths, butterflies, crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, wasps, bees, spiders, and flies. They catch their prey from the air, from the surfaces of leaves and trees, and the ground, haystacks, bark crevices, and nooks in rails and fences. They also eat tiny whole berries, the pits of which are vomited after the berries are consumed whole. When full dragonflies, moths, and butterflies are given to chicks in their nest, they may refuse to eat them. Parents have to smash the bugs up into smaller pieces for chicks to finally eat them.

Are they friendly?

Flycatchers can both be friendly as well as distant birds. Some species showcase overly inquisitive behavior around humans but others are quite hostile.

Would they make a good pet?

No, these birds are not favorable as pets. Though some of these birds may be docile, the majority are hostile to humans.

Did you know...

A flycatcher birdhouse should be built about 11-40 ft (3.4-12.2 m) above the ground in open woodland on a tree or a post.

Different Types Of Flycatchers

As well as the well-known great crested flycatcher, there are so many different types of flycatchers, meaning that wildlife lovers can learn endless southwestern willow flycatcher facts, scissor-tailed flycatcher facts, vermilion flycatcher facts, and many, many more.

The largest muscicapine genus is Muscicapa (which includes Ficedula), and the most common flycatcher in this genus seems to be the spotted flycatcher or (M. striata), a 5.5 in (13.9 cm) brownish-gray streaked bird that is found in gardens and woodlands East Asia. They also breed and nest in Europe and have a sibilant call. They have thin bodies and flutter their wings quite often.

The pied flycatcher species (M. hypoleuca) on the other hand is a white-black mix male that breeds in Asia, Africa, and Europe. Narcissus flycatcher (M. narcissina) birds are bright Muscicapines that are found widely in Japan. A male is yellow, white, and purple, and this species is a fine singer!

Other prominent flycatchers include the 4 in (10 cm) dusky flycatcher (Alseonax adustus), which is very common in Africa. The Texas bird of paradise is another name for the scissor-tailed flycatcher, and also from the Tyrannus genus comes a long-tailed bird called the swallow-tailed flycatcher. These are referred to as kingbirds. Myiarchus tyrannulus, the brown-crested flycatcher is a flycatcher with a long hooked bill and is very large.

Why are some flycatchers endangered?

Some flycatcher populations are declining due to habitat loss and alteration, as well as nest parasitism by the brown-headed cowbird. Up to 90% of the flycatcher's ancestral ecosystem has been changed due to river and stream pollution, groundwater pumping, and overuse of agricultural areas. The destruction and deterioration of these birds' thick, native forests are one of the key causes of the decline of flycatchers, particularly for the southwestern willow flycatcher. Since 1966, the Acadian flycatcher has seen annual declines in its population as a result of habitat losses caused by land growth, agricultural activities, and harmful forest pests and pathogens.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including the monk parakeet, or the lilac-breasted roller.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our least flycatcher coloring pages.

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You


See All

Written by Divya Raghav

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

Divya Raghav picture

Divya RaghavBachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

With a diverse range of experience in finance, administration, and operations, Divya is a diligent worker known for her attention to detail. Born and raised in Bangalore, she completed her Bachelor's in Commerce from Christ University and is now pursuing an MBA at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Bangalore. Along with her professional pursuits, Divya has a passion for baking, dancing, and writing content. She is also an avid animal lover who dedicates her time to volunteering for animal welfare causes.

Read full bio >
Read the DisclaimerFact Correction