[order] Passeriformes | [family] Muscicapidae | [latin] Ficedula semitorquata | [UK] Semi-Collared Flycatcher | [FR] Gobemouche à demi-collier | [DE] Halbringschnäpper | [ES] Papamoscas semicollarino | [IT] Balia dal collare semi-torquata | [NL] Balkanvliegenvanger

Balkanvliegenvanger determination

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Small to medium-sized flycatcher, with plumage pied in breeding male and grey-brown above, buff or grey and white below in non-breeding male, female, and immature, with dark wings and tail. All plumages have white lines on tertials and across wing. Appearance intermediate between F. albicollis and F, hypoleuca, with diagnostic combination in adult male breeding of half-collar, white upper wing-bar, grey rump-patches, and mostly white outer tail feathers. Sexes dissimilar in breeding plumage, marked seasonal variation.

In south-east warm temperate lower middle latitudes of west Palearctic, finds forest requirements (whitch it shares with Collared Flycatcher) fulfilled mainly on slopes of mountains in belt occupied by mature deciduous trees, notably oak and hornbeam in gorges and at lower level in orchards. Found up to 2000 m on mountain slopes. On plains, uses deciduous riverine forest, also found in ancient beech forest.

Ficedula semitorquata is a summer visitor to parts of south-eastern Europe, which constitutes >50% of its global breeding range. Its European breeding population is relatively small (<53,000 pairs), and underwent a large decline between 1970-1990. Although it was stable in Bulgaria and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia during 1990-2000, there were declines elsewhere in its European range—including the key Turkish and Russian populations—and the species underwent a moderate decline (>10%) overall. Consequently, it is evaluated as Declining.
This flycatcher is breeding in the Balkan Peninsula, Turkey, the Caucasus and northern Iran. It is wintering in sub-Saharan Africa. In the European Union it is known only from Greece , where its population is estimated at 1000-5000 breeding pairs. In some areas a decline has been reported, but the overall trends of this species are not known

Diet based on flyin insects. feeding habits similar to Spotted Flycatcher, most prey being obtained by sallying out from perch after flaying insect, rarely returns ot same perch. Prey less often taken directly from leaves or branches or from ground.

Ficedula semitorquata breeds in southeast Europe (Albania (less than 100 pairs), Armenia (300-800 pairs), Bulgaria (1,500-3,500 pairs), Georgia (present), Greece (1,000-3,000 pairs), Macedonia (100-1,000 pairs), Russia (10,000-20,000 pairs) and Turkey (2,500-25,000 pairs)), totalling 15,000-53,000 pairs (50-74% of the global population), and in the Middle East (particularly Iran). It winters in a comparatively small region of East Africa, from southern Sudan through western Uganda to Tanzania (south to Njombe). Following a large decline during 1970-19901 the species has continued to decline across most of southeast Europe during 1990-2000 (including in its key populations in Turkey and European Russia). Within its breeding range it favours forest belts, mainly on mountain slopes up to about 2,000 m altitude), occupied by mature deciduous trees (notably oak Quercus and hornbeam Carpinus). On plains it uses deciduous riverine forest, and also occurs in old groves and gardens. In winter it favours evergreen forest, gallery forest, and edges of forest blocks. The species suffers from habitat destruction in some areas, which is likely to be responsible for recent declines. In eastern Turkey habitat is threatened by ongoing dam projects, and rapid loss of other Quercus species forests may also negatively impact on the species2. Further information on population trends outside of its European breeding range is required. [conservation status from birdlife.org]

Breeds in Caucasus from mid-April (start of laying) to mid-July (presumably end of fledging), hatching mostly in first 3 weeks of May. One brood. Nest is natural or artificial hole in tree; takes readily to nest-boxes. Nest is a cup of dead leaves, dead plant stems, lichens, and moss, lined variously with fine rootlets, grasses, or bark fibre, less commonly hair, feathers, or plant down. Clutch size 5-6, with an incubation period of 13-14 days, done by female only. The young fledge after 14-17 days.

Trans-Saharan migrant. Relatively small and circumscribed population, combined with identification difficulties and its common designation as race of Collared Flycatcher, result in incomplete knowledge of routes and winter quarters. Thus probably under-recorded almost everywhere. Wintering apparently limited to comparatively small area in East Africa from southern Sudan (south of 5°N) through western Uganda to Tanzania.