Flycatchers in Nairobi

2009 June 27
by David J. Ringer

NAIROBI, KENYA — Well, it’s a quiet weekend “at home” in Nairobi. (No, I haven’t moved here, but I’m living here for the next several weeks.) Watching birds from my balcony this morning, I saw several of the common residents that are quickly becoming familiar: Red-billed Firefinch, Variable Sunbird, Streaky Seedeater and Dusky Turtle Dove. And these two lovely flycatchers:


African Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone viridis. This is a monarch flycatcher, allied with crows and birds-of-paradise.


White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher, Dioptrornis fischeri. This is a muscicapid flycatcher (also called “Old World” flycatchers). Muscicapids are allied with thrushes in the Passerida.


Paradise flycatchers are totally hot. I love the electric blue bill and orbital ring. Adult males have dramatically elongated central tail feathers (this individual does not). Birds are rufous or rufous and white above, but some adult males are pure black-and-white. I haven’t seen any white morphs around Nairobi yet, but I have seen them in Cameroon and Ethiopia. Spectacular!

Related posts:

  1. Nairobi National Park: Birds and beasts of the Athi-Kapiti ecosystem
  2. African Paradise Flycatcher
  3. Black Kite, Milvus migrans
  4. Variable Sunbird, Cinnyris venustus
  5. Black Sparrowhawk
6 Responses
  1. June 28, 2009

    Very cool.

  2. Katie permalink
    June 28, 2009

    I am a 10 year old homeschooler, and I really like your bird pictures. I want to be a naturalist and a wildlife photographer. I spend a lot of time birdwatching and taking pictures of birds. I would like to go to Africa and see these flycatchers some day.

    • David J. Ringer permalink*
      June 29, 2009

      Thank you, Katie! Keep watching and learning.

  3. June 28, 2009

    Beautiful! I think ‘paradise’ is an appropriate name for that species.

  4. Karen Van Otterloo permalink
    May 9, 2012

    This morning (Upper Hill, Nairobi) I saw a male paradise flycatcher with his long breeding tail trying to chase away a pair of white eyed slaty flycatchers. He was after them for a good five minutes, squawking and diving at them. Do they compete for insects? Or are the white eyed ones nest stealers? The paradise flycatcher seems to have a nest in the overgrown wooded area nearby, though I haven’t seen it.

  5. Maggie permalink
    July 21, 2014

    Was trying to identify a flycatcher and came upon the photo of this bird: Paradise flycatcher

    Oh my gosh. Literally took my breath away…. What a goofy-looking, absolutely beautiful, stunning creature. Wow. He’s got so many things going on — I just have to investigate this bird now.

Comments are closed.