Muscicapidae


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Muscicapidae

[‚məs·ə′kap·ə‚dē]
(vertebrate zoology)
A family of passeriform birds assigned to the Oscines; includes the Old World flycatchers or fantails.

Muscicapidae

 

(Old World flycatchers), a family of birds of the order Passeriformes. The body is from 9 to 30 cm long. The bill is broad and flat and has elastic bristles near its base. The legs are frail, with short toes.

There are approximately 330 species of Old World flycatchers, distributed on all continents of the eastern hemisphere. New Zealand and Hawaii each have one genus. Old World flycatchers are particularly numerous in the tropics and subtropics. In the USSR there are 15 species, including two species of the genus Terpsiphone, two species of the genus Xanthopygia, the spotted flycatcher (Muscicapa striata), the Siberian blue-and-white flycatcher (M. cyanomelana), and the pied flycatcher (M. hypoleuca). All species that nest in the USSR are migratory and winter in Africa and southern Asia. The pied and spotted flycatchers often settle readily in artificial nesting places.

Old World flycatchers nest once each summer and lay from four to nine eggs per clutch. The eggs are incubated, primarily by the female, for approximately 14 days. The birds feed on insects and spiders; sometimes they feed on berries. Old World flycatchers are beneficial because they destroy large numbers of insect pests.

REFERENCE

Ptitsy Sovetskogo soiuza, vol. 6. Edited by G. P. Dement’ev and N. A. Gladkov. Moscow, 1954.

A. I. IVANOV