Cassins flycatcher

Muscícapa cassini

SUBFAMILY

Muscicapinae

TAXONOMY

Muscícapa cassini Heine, 1859. OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Cassin's alseonax, Cassin's gray flycatcher; French: Gobemouche de Cassin; German: Cassinschnapper; Spanish: Papamoscas de Cassin.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

The body length is about 5.5 in (14 cm). The sexes are colored similarly, with a bluish gray back, black wings and tail, and white underparts with gray flanks and chest.

DISTRIBUTION

A resident species of much of western tropical Africa. HABITAT

Occurs in the vicinity of rivers, streams, and other surface waters within humid, lowland, tropical forest. Occurs as high as about 5,900 ft (1,800 m).

BEHAVIOR

A nonmigratory species. Pairs of breeding birds defend a linear territory along a watercourse, or a wider one in flooded forest. The song consists of a medley of whistles, buzzes, and chirps sung in bouts of several minutes.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

An active hunter that searches for flying insects from an exposed perch, such as a stump or dead tree in the water or from an overhanging branch. Usually returns to its original perch after each sally. Sometimes swoops to take prey from a spider web or the ground.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Builds a cup-shaped nest of grass and other fibers. The nest is placed close to the ground in a shallow cavity in a stump, in other kinds of tree-crevices, or at a narrow branch-fork. Lays two light-green, finely speckled eggs.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. A widespread and locally abundant species. SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

None known, except for the economic benefits of bird-watching. ♦

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