Diet of the Asian Brown Flycatchers while on Migration

posted in: birds, Feeding-invertebrates | 0

I saw another food item for the Asian Brown Flycatcher (Muscicapa dauurica) yesterday (21st February 2022) and I am attempting to update my personal observations on the diet of these birds while on migration to my region.

Yesterday I saw an Asian Brown Flycatcher take a dragonfly (see image). This was unexpected for me as they usually take smaller insects. The dragonfly was branch swiped a few times before being swallowed whole. The dragonfly had bright orange and dark brown wing markings making an identification possible; this is the Rhyothemis phyllis, known as the Yellow-Striped Flutterer or Yellow-Barred Flutterer. It is described as a small to medium-sized dragonfly.

In the past I have observed the Asian Brown Flycatchers feed on:

  1. Insect Prey: Small insects are often taken using an aerial sally. I have seen it take small larvae. The dragonfly is the largest prey I have personally seen it feed on.
  2. Small fruit: Another common item in the diet. Fruit is also taken using an aerial sally. The birds will usually snatch a fruit, at times fluttering very briefly, and then return usually to a different perch to feed quickly.

Fruit I have seen taken include:

Blue Mahang (Macaranga heynei) – common food item.

Common Mahang (Macaranga bancana) – common food item.

Australian Mulberry (Pipturus argenteus).

Small orange berries from an unknown bush.

The Asian Brown Flycatcher is often very territorial in guarding its feeding locations and fruiting trees.

  1. On one occasion I have seen a bird expel a pellet but was not able to retrieve it for analysis. It could be made up of the exoskeletons of insects or indigestible plant matter.


Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS – Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Follow 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.

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