Tim writes: while photographing Ring Ouzels in the Crowden Valley I was distracted by the sound of this Spotted Flycatcher snapping its beak as it tried to catch an insect. Now you can guess what Flycatchers eat as the clue is in the name, and even its scientific name Muscicapa means flycatching. So I had always assumed they were 100% insectivorous. But I was totally amazed when it took flight again, and plucked a berry off the Rowan and wolfed it down. Alas I was too slow to catch it in the act of berry-eating but here it is just a second or two after.
But when I checked Witherby’s Handbook it said the diet is almost entirely insects but is said to take berries such as those of Rowan in the autumn. It also said they have been known to take earthworms, at least twice in hard weather. I also checked BWP (Birds of the Western Palearctic) which states that berries are occasionally eaten during the breeding season, more regularly in autumn. And after an exhaustive list of insects and other invertebrates it lists the various berries it has been reported eating: Barberry, Buckthorn, Dogwood, Rowan, Elder, Honeysuckle, Cherry, Mulberry, Currant, Crowberry and Bramble.
Every day’s a school day. But maybe this is where I find out that I’m the only person in the world who didn’t realise Spotted Flycatchers eat berries.[registration_form]