Little slaty flycatcher -- 小灰姬鹟 (Ficedula basilanica)

Little slaty flycatcher
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Little slaty flycatcher fact file

Little slaty flycatcher description

GenusFicedula (1)

This secretive bird belongs to the flycatcher family, a group named for their propensity to make short sallies from a perch to catch flying insects in their bill (3). The little slaty flycatcher has a short tail and a heavy bill surrounded with bristles (2) (3). The male has a slaty-grey head and upperparts, brownish flight feathers, white underparts and a grey wash on the breast and flanks. Females have a rufous-brown head and upperparts, and white underparts washed with rufous on the breast and flanks. The sexes also differ by the fairly prominent whitish spot on the side of the neck of the male (2). Both have dark brown irises, a black bill and pale pink to pinkish-grey legs (2). The little slaty flycatcher skulks in dense vegetation, so it is more easily located by its high pitched three-note call, or its beautiful, warbling song (4).

Length: 12.5 – 13.5 cm (2)
14 – 16.1 g (2)

Little slaty flycatcher biology

The solitary and secretive little slaty flycatcher spends much of its time hidden amongst dense foliage, and its presence is only detected by its characteristic call (2). It searches in low vegetation in the forest for small invertebrates to eat, and only emerges onto an exposed perch when excited or agitated (2).

Information is scarce regarding breeding in this species, but little slaty flycatchers were found in a breeding condition in May and June (2). Only one nest has ever been found; a frail structure, made of roots and lined with leaves, well concealed in forest litter near the ground. Within this nest were two eggs (2) (5).


Little slaty flycatcher range

The little slaty flycatcher is endemic to the Philippines. There are two subspecies; F.b. basilanica occurs on the islands of Dinagat, Mindanao and Basilan, whilst F. b. samarensis is found only on Samar and Leyte (2)


Little slaty flycatcher habitat

Inhabits the tangled understorey of primary forest and secondary forest, including selectively logged forest, up to elevations of 1,200 meters (2)


Little slaty flycatcher status

Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List 2007 (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable


Little slaty flycatcher threats

The little slaty flycatcher is threatened by the widespread destruction of its forest habitat. The clearance of lowland forest for agriculture, logging, golf courses, and mining in the Philippines, has resulted in the little slaty flycatcher population declining rapidly (2) (5).


Little slaty flycatcher conservation

The presence of this vulnerable bird in Mount Apo and Mount Malindang National Parks may afford the little slaty flycatcher some protection (2), but it would greatly benefit from the protection of five further important sites (5). Clarifying its current distribution and population status in the remaining fragments of lowland forest is another proposed measure (5).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

Find out more

For further information on the little slaty flycatcher see:

  • BirdLife International. (2001) Threatened Birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK.
  • Haribon Foundation:



This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:


A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Animals with no backbone.
Primary forest
Forest that has remained undisturbed for a long time and has reached a mature condition.
Secondary forest
Forest that has re-grown after a major disturbance, such as fire or timber harvest, but has not yet reached the mature state of primary forest.
A population usually restricted to a geographical area that differs from other populations of the same species, but not to the extent of being classified as a separate species.


  1. IUCN Red List (May, 2008)
  2. del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (2006) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol.11: Old World Flycatchers to Old World Warblers. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  3. Burnie, D. (2001) Animal. Dorling Kindersley, London.
  4. Birdlife International (October, 2007)
  5. BirdLife International. (2001) Threatened Birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK.

Image credit

Little slaty flycatcher  
Little slaty flycatcher

© Jon Hornbuckle

Jon Hornbuckle


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