Small ‘Brown’ Flycatcher for identification

posted in: birds, Identification | 2

While watching the Spiderhunters I saw some small Brown’ Flycatchers at the same location. One was a Brown-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa williamsoni but I sadly failed in getting images.
This other bird was unusual in behaviour; coming down lower to forage (2 meters) than I am used to with Asian Brown Flycatchers. The breast was also darker than I usually see in Asian Brown Flycatcher.


I considered another Brown-streaked Flycatcher but could not get a proper side view of the wing pattern to confirm. The Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica is an option but the larger pale area on lores, larger eye-ring and pale lower proximal mandible points more to Asian Brown Flycatchers. However there is a suggestion of a ‘pale or whitish half-collar on neck side’ seen in Dark-sided Flycatchers and the bird is more brown than grey (Asian Brown). The subspecies of the Asian Brown Flycatchers Muscicapa dauurica siamensis is usually browner and a consideration here.
Appreciate opinions and ideas.


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

Habitat: Secondary growth adjacent to limestone outcroppings

Date: 7th December 2020

Equipment: Nikon D500 SLR with Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR, handheld with Rode VideoMic Pro Plus Shotgun Microphone

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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.

2 Responses

  1. Ng Di Lin

    Dear BESG / Dato’ Dr Amar

    As I am in no way an expert in the presence of esteemed birders, I would like to humbly suggest that this bird is a Muscicapa dauurica. This is because the eye lores are distinctly pale, the beak seems bigger in proportion to its head, and the half-collar extends up to the throat.

    I had the pleasure of photographing what I hoped was correctly identified Muscicapa dauurica and sibirica lately, which I will share to this site soon.

    Thank you.

  2. Amar-Singh+HSS

    Dear Ng Di Lin

    Thank you for your kind response.
    I agree with you that this is most likely an Asian Brown Flycatcher (Muscicapa dauurica dauurica).
    However, having seen many over the past 40-50 years, there is a lot of variability.
    Perhaps in the future someone may work out if this variability does mean some genetic differences.


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