Jungle Flycatchers  

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There is this batch of tiny birds that is silently staying in deep jungles going about its lifestyle without being noticed. Even though people coming close to the spot where they and staying just beside, would not take a proper look at them. This group of birds, more so the Asian brown Flycatcher is a welcome sign to many bird watcher. So disappointed to ID that this lone bird in an otherwise "birdless" outing trip, is the common trash bird. Still it is always a welcome sight to have at least met up with one bird.

For the rest of members of this group of birds, it is a frustrating task to identify them properly. The pictures I have posted up will surely draw a lot of contention as to whether they are really the appropriate species that I claim them to be.

In my album to record what I have encountered, I just couldn't leave this important group of birds out


Jungle Flycatchers

Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher

Rhinomyias brunneatus
Fulvous-chested Jungle Flycatcher Rhinomyias olivaceus
Grey-chested Jungle Flycatcher Rhinomyias umbratilis

 Dull colored Flycatchers

Grey-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa griseisticta
Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica
Asian Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa dauurica

These small birds have one feature in common and that is using the rictual bristles to catch flying insects. As for habits, many of them seek regular perch. i.e. opting for the favorite perch and returning to the same perch the whole day or season. Well, some may not but still hang around the vicinity of the tiny locality.

Most of the Flycatchers have weak songs, more like murmuring while a couple have louder whispers.

They are usually alone and perhaps another Flycatcher in the nearby area, but I have yet to see them acting in pair.

1. Brown-chested Jungle Flycatchers   Rhinomyias brunneatus

 Size & diagnostic markings:- 15 Cm.  As the name suggests, the bird is normally found in heavily forested area or at the forest edge, e.g. a track leading through a forest area. Sightings occurs during the migratory season October through to February each year. This bird at 15 cm has typical features of the Jungle Flycatcher, brown with faint markings on its throat. The diagnostic marking for the bird its dark tip lower mandible.

 Distribution :- The bird is from Southern China, around the Andaman Coast and the Nicobar Islands. It is a winter visitor to Malaysia. .
 Habitats & preferences:- Jungle Flycatchers as the name implies prefers forest habitats and for this one, lowlands
 In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:- Meeting up with the bird is purely accidental. Cannot say that the bird was spotted here before, let's hope it appears again. This scenario is not noted by me.

My personal jottings :-

Actually it is near impossible as well as having no incentive to seek this dull looking bird. Met the bird by chance in the hills of Bukit Kiara. This bird was seen in the middle storey.  I have seen many pictures and most have varying degree of darkness on the breast and the common marking among these pictures is the dark colored beak. The 3 pictures posted here are really poor sample of what I really have seen. To me personally, they appear so familiar as Asian brown too. This was a rare occasion, excuse me for making a record, hoping for better shots the next round. Just imagine, looking for that slight difference each time we meet a brown Flycatcher. It is best done on film and not in the field with a pair of binoculars

Record of bird's call:-    and Video:-

Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher # 1

Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher # 2

Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher # 3


2. Brown-Streaked Flycatchers    Muscicapa williamsoni

 Size & diagnostic markings:- 14 Cm.  The same introductory remarks as the bird above, perhaps the brown stronger in tone. The main differences if could be seen properly would be the brown streaks found on its breast. But here the conditions variable, sometimes distinct while other times much less.

 Distribution :- This is a bird from Sumatra. Then seen in southern Thailand and the north-western part of peninsula Malaysia - meaning seen more often in Kedah, Penang and Perak.
Habitats & preferences:-This is a lowland forest bird but could be seen in sub-montane hills.
  In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:- So far I have seen this bird in Merapoh, which is surprising and also in Frasers Hills, the road coimng down to The Gap.

My personal jottings :-

This Flycatcher is 14 cm with all the looks of the commonly seen Asian Brown Flycatcher. There is so much of confusion between this Brown-streaked and another Musicapa daurica siamensis which is  sub-species of the Asian brown. To be honest I am not perfectly sure of the ID itself but I have listed it as another bird as the streaks on the breast were too significant to point it as a separate species. The Brown-streaked Flycatcher is so close to the Asian Brown that it could be listed as a Sub-species but not now. It is on its own. It is not the same bird as the Grey-streaked Flycatcher listed on the table above. From information on the internet, the Grey-streaked Flycatcher hardly comes to Peninsula Malaysia, other then Borneo Island.

The Brown-streaked is a bird from the Sumatra Island but do cross over to Peninsula Malaysia. The bird prefers forest environment and could be found in lowlands as well as in sub-montane habitat.

The pictures for the bird were taken on the road coming down from Frasers Hills, perched in the middle storey of a low tree.

Record of bird's call:-    and Video:-

Brown-streaked Flycatcher # 1

Brown-streaked Flycatcher #  2

Brown-streaked Flycatcher #  3

Brown-streaked Flycatcher # 4

Brown-streaked Flycatcher # 5

Brown-streaked Flycatcher # 6

Brown-streaked Flycatcher #  7

Brown-streaked Flycatcher # 8

Brown-streaked Flycatcher # 9

Brown-streaked Flycatcher #  10

Brown-streaked Flycatcher # 11

Brown-streaked Flycatcher # 12

Brown-streaked Flycatcher #  13

Brown-streaked Flycatcher # 14

Brown-streaked Flycatcher # 15

Brown-streaked Flycatcher #  16

Brown-streaked Flycatcher # 17

Brown-streaked Flycatcher # 18

Brown-streaked Flycatcher #  19

Brown-streaked Flycatcher # 20

Brown-streaked Flycatcher # 21

Brown-streaked Flycatcher #  22

Brown-streaked Flycatcher # 23

Brown-streaked Flycatcher # 24

3. Asian-brown Flycatchers   Muscicapa dauurica

 Size & diagnostic markings:- 13 Cm.  The little brown bird that kept flying around within the same vicinity, this is  most  likely the common Flycatcher, Asian-brown. It would be seen more often among those birds arriving in Malaysia during the migratory season. The upper part is plain brownish-grey, the under part is is almost plain white with some very light shades on the upper breast. The most prominent diagnostic marking is the white eye ring and its lack of shades, rather plain looking bird.

 Distribution :- Surprisingly this is not a bird from the north but from South-west India, Sumatra, North Borneo and the Lesser Sundas.
 Habitats & preferences:- This is a lowland birds, of open country, forest edge and deep forest. It will also be found in hills below the sub-montane heights. Could also be seen in parks.
  In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:- Almost everywhere with lots of low trees and out in the rural areas.
 My personal jottings :- 

This tiny bird of 13 cm should be very familiar.

This is a forest edge, lowland bird seen in mangrove forest then again moving up the hills before the height of sub-montane forest. You need not look for it as they are almost everywhere where the are trees, only in months of northern winter time. The bird prefers small trees and the middle storey. Most times perched on open branches which are well exposed but at times on branches within the shades.


Record of bird's call:-    and Video:-

Asian-brown Flycatcher # 1

Asian-brown Flycatcher # 2

Asian-brown Flycatcher# 3

Asian-brown Flycatcher # 4

Asian-brown Flycatcher # 5

Asian-brown Flycatcher# 6

Asian-brown Flycatcher # 7

Asian-brown Flycatcher # 8

Asian-brown Flycatcher# 9

Asian-brown Flycatcher # 10

Asian-brown Flycatcher # 11

Asian-brown Flycatcher# 12

Asian-brown Flycatcher # 16

Asian-brown Flycatcher # 17

Asian-brown Flycatcher# 18

Asian-brown Flycatcher # 19

Asian-brown Flycatcher # 20

Asian-brown Flycatcher# 21

Asian-brown Flycatcher # 22

Asian-brown Flycatcher # 23

Asian-brown Flycatcher# 24

Asian-brown Flycatcher # 25

Asian-brown Flycatcher # 26

Asian-brown Flycatcher# 27

4. Dark-sided Flycatchers I  Muscicapa sibirica rothshildi

 Size & diagnostic markings:- 14 Cm.  This bird shares the same habitats and also appear exactly like the Asian-brown. Likes perching in open branches of the middle storey. Only in selected areas the bird would be seen. Slightly larger at 14 cm but with a smaller and darker bill. The bird is obviously darker brown and more towards grey, giving the bird its name. The eye-ring are also spotted but less pronounced. Critical diagnostic marking are the grayish brown breast, faint streaks and significantly darker upper parts.

 Distribution :-  This bird is from the slopes of southern Himalayas all the way from Pakistan through India to western china. Then in the true sense wintering in Malaysia.
 Habitats & preferences:- The bird prefers cooler forest with pine trees but during the migration route could also take them through in deep forest of the lowlands. Places where the bird perched are more selective and more of deep forest. By nature of its surrounding, the likelihood of the bird could be determined.
  In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:- So far I could only think of deserted forest trails and up in the hills.

 My personal jottings :- 

Most of the pictures from this series is taken in the forest of Bukit Tinggi. So far this bird was seen in open branches in the middle storey of tall trees. That choice makes the perch rather high up from the ground. The choice of perch is the same, open well exposed. Besides the more remote location, the differences I noticed is that the spot chosen is higher

Record of bird's call:-    and Video:-

Dark-sided Flycatcher  # 1

Dark-sided Flycatcher # 2

Dark-sided Flycatcher # 3

Dark-sided Flycatcher # 4

Dark-sided Flycatcher # 5

Dark-sided Flycatcher# 6

Dark-sided Flycatcher #  7

Dark-sided Flycatcher # 8

Dark-sided Flycatcher # 9

Dark-sided Flycatcher #  10

Dark-sided Flycatcher # 11

Dark-sided Flycatcher # 12

Dark-sided Flycatcher #  13

Dark-sided Flycatcher # 14

Dark-sided Flycatcher # 15

Dark-sided Flycatcher #  16

Dark-sided Flycatcher # 17

Dark-sided Flycatcher # 18

5. Dark-sided  Flycatchers II  Muscicapa sibirica sibirica

 Size & diagnostic markings:- 13 Cm.  Another sub-species of the Dark-sided is this one with same darker upperparts but with less pronounced streaks on pale under part. Only with pictures of the 2 birds together, then carefully examined and with both available could the 2 species being told part.

 Distribution :- Again coming from a belt with countries, all at the foot hills and south of the Himalayas Mountain range
 Habitats & preferences:- This is a forest edge bird of the deep forest. Again only in remote places with little human movements.
  In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:- The darker colored wings and the clean belly makes it easier to ID this bird. Apart from the fact that I met this bird in places human seldom goes, I cannot elaborate as this is a migratory bird.

My personal jottings :- 

I have to admit that  for me in the field, there is no way where I am in the level of having expertise to make positive ID. Realizing this point, I made a special note here, not to complicate but to alert that there are instances when a Dark-sided may look like one but then again examining, not quite sure type of scenario. I have not accumulated any notes but according to Robson, this second sub-species is more widespread during the migratory season.

Again another Flycatcher that prefers forest in the cooler climate and a bird perching in the middle storey


Record of bird's call:-    and Video:-  

Dark-sided M.s.s.# 1

Dark-sided M.s.s. #  2

Dark-sided M.s.s.#  3

Dark-sided M.s.s. # 4

Dark-sided M.s.s. # 5

Dark-sided M.s.s. # 6

Dark-sided M.s.s. #  7

Dark-sided M.s.s.  # 8

Dark-sided M.s.s. # 9

Dark-sided M.s.s. #  10

Dark-sided M.s.s.  # 11

Dark-sided M.s.s. # 12


Word of caution:- I am not happy about this page as I do not have the confidence about having made the right ID all the way. With the many pictures I am having I sorted them according to my best ability in interpreting the differences. First I ponder over the point of identifying these confusing Jungle Flycatchers and to some extend the Dark sided as well.  Over the years in birding trip I must have seen many of these dull colored Flycatchers. Apart from the Asian Brown that was instantly ID, for many  I just have them recorded. Now I have to sort out what I collected from the fields. I am not surprised at all if I had encountered all the species that is to be seen. However, with human eyes, the streaks and colorization were convincing to make an initial ID. On reviewing the pictures, the lower end cameras that I had did not help in giving a good-enough definition. Usually in smudges and the streaks poorly exposed. This page is about showing and I have nothing to back me up. Time is not on my side, I better spend my effort on other species of birds that I can be more confident on.

The situation may be better with the colorful Flycatchers. Here another challenge would always be hoping for a glimpse of the female species which should be around nearby but were not readily available for me to complete my record. So last words on the Jungle Flycatchers, even though they are not that colorful or uniformly brown, I still do not that much of pictures for the female to be shown