Kashmir Flycatcher: Get the Complete Information

Kashmir flycatcher in the picture

Taxonomical position of Kashmir Flycatcher

SpeciesFicedula subrubra

Beautiful birds of all sizes and colours live in the beautiful valleys of North India and East Pakistan. One of them is the Kashmir flycatcher, or Ficedula subrubra, which was once a good choice for the state bird of Jammu and Kashmir.  

The class Aves, the family Muscicapidae, and the genus Ficedula are the groups that these birds belong to. During the breeding season, they live in temperate deciduous forests with dense undergrowth. Other places they can be found are moist tropical forest plantations and gardens.

They can be found in the Western Ghats, the hills in the middle of Sri Lanka, the Himalayas in northwestern India, and some ranges in Pakistan. They move from the south to the north during the winter. The birds’ bills are dark black, and their red or orange throats and breasts, grey backs, and black-bordered tails help us identify them. Due to commercial logging, the number of these birds is in danger and needs great protection.


The Kashmir Flycatcher is a small size. It is of the size of a sparrow. 13 cm; 9–12 g.

Field Identification of Kashmir Flycatcher

Males have dark grey feathers around their eyes, ear-coverts, and the side of their necks. Besides, the rest of their heads and upper parts are orange-brown, becoming ashier on the rump, and their upper tail-coverts are black. Moreover, their wings are orange-brown with grey edges, and their remiges and the rest of their upper wing coverts are dark brown with lighter brown edges.

Their tails are black, with a white patch at the base. It is different from F. parva. Because its upper parts are darker brown, and its throat, breast, and upper belly are darker rufous-chestnut. Moreover, there is no clear knowledge about Kashmir flycatcher males that don’t breed. But they probably have less orange on their chins and throats and maybe more buff on their sides.

Female is lighter brown on top than male, with no grey on the rump, lores, feathers around the eye and cheek. Moreover, males are buffy white on the chin and throat, tawny brown below, throat, breast, and upper flanks with variable rufous mottling (often looking scaly or with bars). Besides, the belly and tail-coverts are plain white, underwing coverts and axillaries yellowish. At the same time, the young bird is dark brown with buff spots and a blackish tail. So, the young bird looks like a female.


There are no sub-species of this little bird. Thus, they are monotypic, meaning that there are no sub-species for the same.

Distribution of Kashmir Flycatcher

Himalayas of NE Pakistan (Neelum Valley) and Kashmir valley; non-breeding areas are mostly Sri Lanka and SW India.

The migratory pattern of Kashmir Flycatcher

The Kashmir Flycatcher is Migratory. It spends the time when it’s not breeding in Sri Lanka and, it seems, in SW India as well (S Western Ghats). Thus, it leaves its breeding grounds in September, travels through peninsular India from September to October, and lands in Sri Lanka in October. In the second half of April, it returns to its breeding grounds. Rarely seen on passage, but has been seen in the Western Ghats. Passage migrants have also been seen in C Nepal, Bhutan, and E India (Eastern Ghats).

What does Kashmir Flycatcher eat?

It isn’t much known about what they eat, but they probably eat insects as F. parva does. Most of its food is eaten as it flits from one perch to another, usually less than 6 m above the ground, under the shade of leaves. In places where it doesn’t breed, it seems to hop around on the ground more often in search of insects. Forages by flicking its wings and jerking its tail.

Habitat of Kashmir flycatcher

Breeds mostly in deciduous forest, sometimes in mixed forest and woodland, often of walnut (Juglans), cherry (Prunus), and willow (Salix), and especially where there is dense undergrowth of Perrotia or hazel (Corylus); at 1800–2700 m. On migration and in Sri Lankan areas where it doesn’t breed, this bird likes to hang out in gardens, tea plantations, and the edges of forests and woods. It also likes to live on hills above about 900 m.

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

The song “sweet-eat, sweet-eat-did-he” is a translation of a short, sweet twitter that gets louder at the end. Calls include a low, dry rattle, a sharp “chak,” and a “wip” that is sometimes repeated at different speeds and sometimes mixed with a dry “tch” sound.

Breeding of Kashmir Flycatcher

From the middle of May to most of June, it has babies. Most likely monogamous and possessive. Nest a messy cup made of leaves, moss, and strips of bark,  with a cover of hair and a few feathers, and put about 1–3 m (rarely higher, up to 12 m) above the ground in a small tree hole or crack. There are usually 4–5 eggs, but sometimes only 3. We don’t know how long the eggs are in the nest or how long the babies stay there.

Systematics History

At first, it was called Siphia hyperythra, but that name has already been taken. Sometimes thought to be the same species as F. parva, but their feathers and wings are very different. As per the molecular data, this species has a relation to F. parva, and F. albicilla is related to these two.

Conservation Status of Kashmir Flycatcher

The Kashmir Flycatcher is in a bad situation. Species with a small range: found in the Western Himalayas EBA. Rare and only found in one area. Once thought to be common in the NW Himalayan areas where it breeds, the population is now small and shrinking because of the loss of habitat.

This bird is rare and only found in a few places in Pakistan. Before 1990, it was a rare passage migrant or winter visitor to Nepal, but its numbers have become lower sharply, and it is now very rare. In Sri Lanka’s wintering range, this bird is rare. About 2500–10,000 birds are thought to live in the whole world. The destruction of temperate mixed-deciduous forests has broken this species’ very small breeding range in the world.

 The main causes are turning land into farms, taking trees out for commercial use, letting animals graze (which changes the structure and composition of the understory), and cutting down trees for animal feed, fuelwood, and building materials. On its wintering grounds in Sri Lanka, it seems more adaptable because it lives in places on the great verge of complete damage.

Cool facts about Kashmir Flycatcher?

The Kashmir flycatchers are a treat to watch and photograph for the local bird watchers. The local bird watchers often times visit the Dachigam National Park and Shankaracharya hills to spot the same. In summers, the bird breeds in the landscape forest of the beautiful Kashmir valley (which is the valley of valleys). A lot of visitors from different parts of the world visit Kashmir to see this beautiful bird. Local people would love to see the Kashmir flycatcher as the state bird of Jammu and Kashmir. However, as per the latest news, the state bird of Jammu and Kashmir is the Kalij pheasant.

What exactly is a Kashmir flycatcher?

Kashmir flycatcher

The Kashmir Flycatcher is a bird in the family Muscicapidae. Its scientific name is Ficedula subrubra. The bottom and breasts of these birds are orange or red.

Which class does this bird belong to?

The Kashmir flycatcher, Ficedula subrubra, is in the kingdom Animalia, phylum Chordata, class Aves, order Passeriformes, family Muscicapidae, and genus Ficedula. There are 40 different kinds of flycatchers in the Indian region. All of them are in the genus Ficedula.

What is the number of Kashmir flycatchers existing in the world today?

The population of Kashmir flycatcher birds is between 1500 and 7000, which is low compared to other flycatchers. Their conservation status is at risk because their forest habitat is shrinking quickly.

Where do they live?

From March to May, the Kashmir flycatcher can be found in places where it can breed. During the winter, these birds breed in the mountains of northwest Kashmir, which is in Pakistan, and the Pir Panjal range, which is in India. During the time they are not breeding, they live in the Western Ghats and the hills in the middle of Sri Lanka. The adult females are the first birds in the Indian subcontinent to move from the south to the north for the winter. They are only found in this area.

What is a Kashmir flycatcher’s habitat?

In their natural environment, Kashmir flycatchers live in dense mixed deciduous forests with thick grasses growing in the understory. So, birds build their nests in the hollows or perches of oak, maple, and willow trees in these breeding grounds. In the summer, they move to the south of India and the hills of Sri Lanka, where they live in tropical forest plantations and gardens. Most of the time, they are found 2460 feet (750 metres) above the ground.

Who do Kashmir flycatchers live with?

Kashmir flycatchers live close to the other types of flycatchers. They are also found with birds that live in temperate and tropical forests, like the common kingfisher, the little egret, the hoopoe, and many others.

How long does a Kashmir flycatcher live?

The average life span of a Kashmir flycatcher is between 2 and 10 years. In rare cases, they can live up to 14 years, but that is still an outlier.

How do they reproduce?

During the breeding season, this flycatcher species builds its nest with small sticks, grasses, and tree bark in tree hollows and perches. Moreover, the female bird lays two to four eggs, which are either only taken care of by the female or by both the male and female. Thus, from March to May, the bird has its young.

What is their conservation status?

With more and more trees being cut down, bird species are quickly going extinct. Furthermore, the flycatcher, Ficedula subrubra, is a species that does not have protection and is Endangered. Moreover, the number of birds is going down quickly because more trees are being cut down for commercial purposes. So, this bird family can be kept safe by limiting overgrazing and tree cutting in the area where they breed.

Kashmir Flycatcher Fun Facts

Kashmir flycatcher

What do the Kashmir flycatchers look like?

Kashmir flycatchers, which are birds with the scientific name Ficedula subrubra, are easy to spot. This is because they have a dark beak with a pale or yellowish base. But adult males can have strange bills that are all white or yellow. Moreover, they have black-grey backs, red or orange feathers on their throats, and black edges around their breasts. Moreover, the female birds’ upper parts are a bit browner, and the red feathers may get a pinkish wash. The sub-adult male birds may have a variety of feather colours, and some may look like female birds.

How cute are they?

Different species of flycatchers have different colours on their throats and breasts. This makes them look cute and unique, so they can be called cute. Moreover, listening to these birds fly through the dense tropical and deciduous forest with their sharp chirps and calls is always a pleasure.

How do they communicate?

In temperate forests, you can hear the sound of Kashmir flycatchers shaking their wings. Moreover, they also make a unique “eep-eep” sound that sounds a bit like the call of a red-breasted flycatcher. Besides, their sound has a high pitch, and one can hear it from a long way away. During the time of year when they are trying to get pregnant, the males sing loudly and try to woo the females in their area.

Are there any particular names for male and female members?

Most of the time, the Kashmir flycatcher species is found in pairs. Moreover, the top of a flycatcher’s body is grey and black, with an orange-red throat and black edges on the breast. At the same time, the tops of the female birds are a little bit more brown, and their red undersides sometimes get a pinkish wash. On top of that, the first birds to leave for the winter are the females. Neither the male nor the female of this species of bird has a name.

Is there any particular name for baby Kashmir flycatcher?

The babies of the Kashmir flycatchers don’t have a specific name. During the breeding season, both the male and female birds look after the young birds. Moreover, the young birds have red throats and breasts, and both the male and female birds do this.

What do they eat?

These birds eat low-flying insects like flying ants, bees that live alone, and common wasps. Moreover, they also eat small spiders, ground ants, and other insects with light bodies that live on the ground. They get food by hunting for insects by “catching flies” from lower perches. They sometimes hunt in groups of two.

What is the national bird of Kashmir?

The Kashmir flycatcher population was known as the national bird of Jammu and Kashmir until 2017. But now, the Kalij Pheasant has been named the Jammu and Kashmir state bird.

Do Kashmir flycatchers migrate?

Yes, the Kashmir flycatchers do migrate. They spend the winter in the central hills of Sri Lanka and the Western Ghats. These birds move to the Kashmir valley as soon as their breeding season starts.

Are they dangerous?

Except for the low-flying and ground insects, these small creatures are not dangerous at all. They have red feathers, but their population is not protected because their natural habitat is being destroyed. They have nothing to do with us.


Would they make a good pet?

It would not be right to put such a beautiful piece of nature in a cage unless it was necessary. The population of Kashmir flycatchers is in danger because their habitat is facing destruction so quickly. Keeping them as pets would keep them from going extinct, but birds are part of what makes nature beautiful when they are free.

Did you know this

The Kashmir flycatcher, Ficedula subrubra, is often seen fanning its tail and cocking its head at the same time. Besides these, other species of flycatchers don’t do this very often.

During the breeding season, the Kashmir flycatchers build their nests between 6.5 and 39.5 feet (2 to 12 metres) above the ground. They also use the nests that other birds, like woodpeckers, have left behind.

How big is a Kashmir flycatcher?

The Kashmir flycatcher, Ficedula subrubra, is about 5 inches long (13 cm). They are bigger than the pygmy flycatcher, which measures 3.14 inches (8 cm), but smaller than the paradise flycatcher, which measures 7.8 inches (20 cm). They are about the same size as the other 40 types of flycatchers.

How fast can a Kashmir flycatcher fly?

We don’t yet know how fast a Kashmir flycatcher flies on average. But because of how quickly they catch their prey and how far they can fly in the wild, we can say that they are pretty fast in the air.

How much does a Kashmir flycatcher weigh?

A Kashmir flycatcher usually weighs between 0.01 and 0.02 lb (9-12 g). Because their bones are hollow, these birds are light, which helps them fly at a steady speed.

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