That Sunday evening in January 2013, I was hunting around for few birds with my Canon EOS 5D Mark III fitted with Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L II IS USM + Canon EF 2X III Extender. My hunt started in a relative hot sunlight of 2PM and went on till around 5:30 PM without any bird in sight. Either the birds were on holiday or wanted to allude me. After searching several known patches I came to a clump where I usually get quite a few birds. The problem at this area was that, the tree cover was pretty dense and getting a clear picture of the bird was bit difficult. Sun was already threatening to take leave. As a last resort I thought of sitting out there till dark and wait for any luck of seeing some bird. Many a times this is a better strategy than looking around for birds.
I have a small foldable tripod stool manufactured by Quechua which I use in the field to sit and wait. Recently I replaced this stool by its finer Swedish original version called Walkstool Comfort. It is a handy stool which helps in my macro as well as bird photography and makes photographing so much easier on your back. I feel just like a tripod for camera, tripod stool is a must for a leisurely and determined photography. Quechua is quite handy and cheap, Walkstool has more features and better comfort, but costly.
After several minutes of patient waiting I found a small flutter in one of the branches. Unfortunately it was under a deep and dense foliage and I could not make out the bird. Further waiting helped me and the bird finally appeared in a clearing and I could make out that it was an Asian Brown Flycatcher (Muscicapa latirostris). I had earlier covered this bird in my blog here.
If you notice the scientific name of Asian Brown Flycatcher has changed from Muscicapa dauurica to Muscicapa latirostris from my previous blog to this one. This is a per the article based on Mlíkovský, J. 2012. Correct name for the Asian Brown Flycatcher (Aves: Muscicapidae, Muscicapa). Zootaxa number 3393: 53-56. According to him Broad-billed flycatchers of East Siberia, which migrate to winter in south-east Asia south to the Greater Sunda Islands, were first described as new for science by Raffles (1822: 312) from Sumatra under the name Muscicapa latirostris. It was confusion in the nomenclature by subsequent authors who attributed the name to Pallas who described it as Muscicapa grisola Varietas Dauurica. So many authors mistakenly used the name Muscicapa dauurica. Now the antiquity of the name is established it will be referred as Muscicapa latirostris Raffles, 1822.
The Asian Brown Flycatcher (Muscicapa latirostris) is a small passerine bird in the flycatcher family Muscicapidae. This is an insectivorous species which breeds in Japan, eastern Siberia and the Himalayas. It is migratory and winters in tropical southern Asia from southern India and Sri Lanka east to Indonesia. This species is 13 cm long, including the cocked tail. It is similar in shape to the larger Spotted Flycatcher, but is relatively longer-tailed. The dark bill is relatively large and broad-based.
The adult has grey-brown upperparts, which become greyer as the plumage ages, and whitish underparts with brown-tinged flanks. Young birds have scaly brown upperparts, head and breast. Although usually treated as monotypic if the Brown-streaked Flycatcher is not included, Rasmussen and Anderton, in Birds of South Asia. The Ripley Guide argue that populations in the Indian subcontinent and the Andaman Islands should be regarded as a separate subspecies, poonensis, from the nominate race which occupies most of the species’ range. They describe poonensis as paler and browner above, with a deeper bill, and mostly pale lower mandible, a more mottled throat, breast and flanks (in fresh plumage), less contrastingly white “spectacles” and throat, and perhaps a more rounded wing like the one you see in these photos.
Asian Brown Flycatcher is a common bird found in open woodland and cultivated areas. It nests in a hole in a tree, laying four eggs which are incubated by the female. The male Asian Brown Flycatcher sings a simple melodic song during courtship. This bird is parasitised by the chewing louse Philopterus davuricae. Probably now even the name of this lice may also need be revised :). Asian Brown Flycatcher is an extremely rare vagrant to Western Europe. Records have come from Britain, Denmark, and Sweden, and in addition, there are unproven claims from Ireland, Faeroe, and Norway.
Check these to great articles on this beautiful flycatcher.
- Bradshaw, C., P. J. Jepson and N. J. Lindsey. (1991) Identification of brown flycatchers British Birds 84(12):527-542
- Mlíkovský, J. 2012. Correct name for the Asian Brown Flycatcher (Aves: Muscicapidae, Muscicapa). Zootaxa number 3393: 53-56.