Yellow-rumped Flycatcher

on 29th September 2009

GS Soh was at Singapore’s Chinese Garden on 13th September 2009 when he photographed a male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher (Ficedula zanthopygia). There was a female accompanying him.

“They were happy to greet me with a dance performance and at the same time feasting on the food available in the garden. He was brave – standing 15 feet away from me looking curiously at my big big “eyes” – my 5″ diameter lense, of course. His wife was shy – hiding behind the leaves most of the time. She appeared on few occasions…”

This flycatcher is a common winter visitor and passage migrant that breeds in Eastern Russia, Mongolia, North China and Korea. Besides Singapore, it also winters in Peninsular Malaysia and as far slouth as Sumatra and Java.

This post is a cooperative effort between and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

9 Responses

  1. If it is for the photography, we would have posted a larger image. There is an ecological aspect in that the pair migrated here to get away from the winter cold. Also, behaviour in that the male is not as skittish as the female.

  2. “Never underestimate the value of your contribution. All the fine bird books of the past are testaments to this – without the accumulation of small behavioural observations built over the years by amateurs, the books would be just drab checklists.” Slim Sreedharan.

  3. This record is interesting! There are very few records of male Yellow-rumped Flycatchers in Singapore. While this is a common winter visitor in Singapore, most of the population consists of females. There are few records in September and the majority of these birds arrive in October. It is also interesting to note that the male is accompanied by a female. I have not seen nor hear of any reports of these flycatchers traveling in pairs. Whether they are a coupled pair or just happen to be at the same place at the same time is another thing to investigate. It is also exciting to learn about this “dance performance” of the male. I don’t think any of our passerine migrants have been reported to perform any kind of a dance. It would have been great if the dance is described. It would also be good to know what food the flycatcher was eating. From the photo, the male seemed to have a rather new plumage. That is interesting life-history information, especially for migrants. Never dismiss any photograph or sightings. There are so much details and information we can learn from a simple photograph. Cheers, Luan Keng

  4. Agree that no contribution is too small. Some may not even know the ID of this beautiful bird. Posting helped educate all levels of audience. Layman and leisure birders will defintelty appreciate and benefit from the post.

  5. Nice photograph!

    Curious that none of these birds were caught in mist nets durin g the early days of ringing at Sungei Buloh and Pulau Ubin.

    Yet, during a series of ringing sessions at these sites last month, several of these birds were trapped, including juveniles. It would appear that they have become more common in Singapore during the winter months, which was not so previously.


  6. First and foremost, let me thank ‘puzzled’ who brought up the relevance of ecology in the above post on the Yellow-rumped Flycatcher. His curiosity, has prompted two ornithologists to provide additional information on the migratory aspects of the bird. Thanks all.

  7. Hi ‘puzzled’,
    i can vote for mr.GS Soh, i know him and his uncle Mr.Adrian Lim few years when i start birding.
    he is a birder before he start taking bird photography.

    on the other hand, i though this Yellow-rumped Flycatcher just a common bird, i found more than 30 to 40 this fc resting on the same tree while i actually looking for the forest’s kingfisher (during my first forest outing, three years ago)…
    unfortunately the male always stay at the tree top, i have only few shots of the female… since then i never see this bird till now.

    irfan choo

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