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Bird news from Vietnam, from Vietnam's resident and visiting birders.

14 April 2015

More photos of Brown-breasted Flycatcher from Hanoi

Another Brown-breasted Flycatcher found the 13th April, one day after the one photographed one day before (see previous post), at a different patch.

Note the rufous edges to the greater coverts and tertials, the pale lower mandible, the pinky/fleshy legs.The lores are pale and the eye ring is conspicuous. The chin and throat are white while the breast and sides of the body are pale brown.

Some information found on the internet : this species was described by E.L. Layard in 1854 as Muscicapa muttui from a specimen procured from Point Pedro in Jaffna, the northernmost point in Sri Lanka. It was thought to have been an endemic till the end of the 19th Century!
The grateful Layard named it after his cook Muttu who brought him the specimen and the dedication of the species reads as follows: “I name this new species after my old and attached servant Muttu, to whose patient perseverance and hunting skill I owe so many of my best birds. This one he brought to me one morning at Pt. Pedro during the month of June.”

The Brown-breasted Flycatcher (or Layard’s Flycatcher) is quite similar to the closely related Asian Brown Flycatcher and some have difficulties in telling them apart. But, the differences in plumage and habits help to make a positive identification. The Asian Brown Flycatcher is smaller in size, has gray-brown upperparts, lacks brown breast-band and has a pale, fleshy-pink base to the bill.

However, the best feature that helps to definitely tell them apart is the colour of the legs, which are dark gray, gray brown or black in the Asian Brown Flycatcher as opposed to the prominent pinky/fleshy of the Brown-breasted.

I spotted it feeding mainly on small flying insects but sometimes it also picked up other creatures off the branches and even picked prey off from the ground. Often perched low (1-3 meters, sometimes lower).

This species breeds in NE India, S China, N Vietnam, NE Myanmar and NW Thailand. Spends non-breeding season in SW India (Western Ghats S from Goa) and Sri Lanka.

In Vietnam, Robson (2009) listed it as scarce breeding visitor in West and East Tonkin.  Given the number of records in Hanoi the last 5 years, both in spring and autumn, it should also be listed as scarce or uncommon passage migrant in East Tonkin. Dear M. Robson, if you read these lines.... :)

1 comment:

  1. When I had a quick look at your photos on my phone, I was thinking this one was a Brown-chested Jungle Fly hehe. But Brown-breasted Fly is good also, thanks you for the details about it :)