Quantock Hills Blog

Male Pied Flycatcher are often bigamists!

- Ha got your attention..... read on to find out more.

Katy Coate

Posted by Katy Coate on 31 May 2017

Male Pied Flycatcher are often bigamists! Male Pied Flycatchers are very busy chaps at this time of year, they often rear two clutches of chicks simultaneously usually in two different territories.  Although they often brings more food to the first mate, the secondary female’s chicks may reap a genetic benefit as it is the fittest males who are first to secure a mate. 
(Image courtesy of John Markham)

At this time of year the Quantock Rangers and volunteers carry out monitoring of bird boxes across the Quantocks.  They looking for evidence of birds nesting, particularly the Pied Flycatcher.  The nest box checking has been carried out since the 1970s and so information over a long period of time has been gathered. The data collected from this monitoring feeds into a larger South-West scheme which helps establish trends in bird populations and helps to influence how these sensitive areas are managed into the future. This small summer visitor arrives from overwintering in West Africa from April onwards. They favour mature woodlands mainly in the west of the UK and feed on insects and caterpillars.  They are quite distinct looking birds with the males having black and white markings, the females being browner. 

Male Piedflycatcher

Pied Flycatchers are categorised as being on the Red list which means they are globally threatened, have been declining in the range of breeding locations and declining in numbers of the breeding population.

Obviously the nest boxes are not exclusively for the Pied Flycatcher and so other birds, such as Blue Tits, Great Tits and wasps use the habitats.  This can make the checking quite interesting as you never know what you will find in each box!



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