Muscicapa caerulescens (Ashy flycatcher, Blue-grey flycatcher) 

BlougrysvlieŽvanger [Afrikaans]; Blauwgrijze vliegenvanger [Dutch]; Gobemouche ŗ lunettes [French]; Schieferschnšpper [German]; Papa-moscas-azulado [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Passeriformes > Family: Muscicapidae > Genus: Muscicapa

Muscicapa caerulescens (Ashy flycatcher, Blue-grey flycatcher)  Muscicapa caerulescens (Ashy flycatcher, Blue-grey flycatcher)
Muscicapa caerulescens (Ashy flycatcher, Blue-grey flycatcher) 

Ashy flycatcher, Thornybush Game Reserve, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Top right: Ashy flycatcher, Kruger National Park, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Bottom right: Ashy flycatcher, Tanzania. [photo Martin Goodey ©]

Distribution and habitat

Occurs in patches in patches from West Africa to Somalia south through DRC, Tanzania, Zambia and Angola to southern Africa. Here it is locally fairly common in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and eastern South Africa, extending west to northern Botswana and Namibia. It can occupy almost any type of woodland excluding arid savanna, but it generally prefers clearings and edges of evergreen forest, dense thickets in woodland, riverine woodland and gardens.

Distribution of Ashy flycatcher in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  


It mainly eats insects, which it catches in sallies from a perch, catching prey from the air or the tree canopy and gleaning food from leaves and branches. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


  • The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of a bulky cup built of plant fibres such as thin bark strips, dry grass, rootlets, green moss and spider web, lined with finer plant material. It is typically placed in a cavity in a tree trunk, fork between thick branches, crevice in bark, shallow hole in a tree stump or under the eaves of a veranda.
  • Egg-laying season is from about September-January.
  • It lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated for about 14 days.
  • The chicks are fed by both parents, leaving the nest after about 14 days.


Not threatened.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 



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