Birds by Name – F
The Ferruginous Duck, Aythya nyroca, is a rich mahogany red dabbling duck which is in decline throughout Europe. The males have white eyes and a greyish bill with a black tip. They also have a patch of white at the back under the tail which helps distinguish them from the fairly similar Tufted duck.
Their breeding habitat is marshes and lakes with a metre or more water depth in southern and eastern Europe and southern and western Asia. They often winter farther south and into north Africa.
They eat aquatic plants supplemented with a few molluscs, aquatic insects and small fish.
Species: A. nyroca
The Fieldfare, Turdus pilaris, is a member of the thrush family Turdidae. It breeds in woodland and scrub in northern Europe and Asia and is strongly migratory.
The Fieldfare is omnivorous, eating a wide range of insects and earthworms in summer, and berries in winter.
It is usually between 22 and 27 cm long, and has a plain brown back, white underwings and grey rump and back of the head head. The breast has a reddish tint and both the breast area and flanks are heavily spotted. There is not much difference between the sexes when it comes to colouring.
The Fieldfare is quite a social bird, often seen in large flocks.
Species: T. pilaris
African Paradise Flycatcher
The African Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone viridis, is a medium-sized passerine bird, growing to about 17 centimetres in length.
It has a black head, neck and underparts and chestnut-brown wings and tail. It also has a white wingbar. The female is browner on its underparts and lacks the white wingbar. Juveniles are similar to the female only a bit duller in colour.
A couple of these birds would alternate with the Pygmy Kingfisher in occupying a vine near the freshwater pool as they waited to swoop down for flies or bugs for their lunch or dinner. Always one after the other, never together.
The nest of the Paradise Flycatcher is very small and built in a tree. Two or three eggs are normally laid.
Surprisingly, it eats flies and other insects.
Species: T. viridis
European Pied Flycatcher
The European Pied Flycatcher, Ficedula hypoleuca, is a small passerine bird which breeds throughout most of Europe and western Asia.
It grows to around 13 centimetres in length and the breeding male is mainly black above and white below. It has a white wing patch, white tail sides and a small patch on the forehead.
The bill is quite broad but very short, as with many flycatchers. In addition to hunting on the wing, the Pied Flycatcher will also eat caterpillars and other insects from the ground or on the foliage of oak trees.
The female will lay between four and ten eggs in an open nest built in a hole in a tree.
Species: F. hypoleuca
Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher
The Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone rufiventer, is a medium-sized bird, the adult male growing to around 17 centimetres plus a tail of similar proportions. The female lacks the long tail streamers, so this one is a female.
In the adult male, the head is black, the body and wings are chestnut brown and it has a black wingbar. The female is duller and juveniles are plain brown.
Species: T. rufiventer
The Spotted Flycatcher, Muscicapa striata, is a small passerine bird which breeds throughout most of Europe and western Asia.
It is migratory and winters in Africa and parts of south western Asia.
It is a greyish-brown colour on its upperparts and buff-white on the belly. It has a streaked crown and breast, short black bill and short black legs. Juveniles are generally browner than adults and have spots on the upperparts.
The Spotted Flycatcher hunts from an open perch, often low level, such as a branch or fence. It sits and watches and then makes a short sortie to grab passing insects. It will often return to the same perch a number of times.
The Spotted Flycatcher is found in parks, gardens and woodland areas. The female generally lays between four and six eggs.
Species: M. striata