Narcissus Flycatcher, a New Flycatcher to Singapore.


Contributed by Alan Ng, Robin Tan and Hio John. 24 Dec 2015.


Browner upper parts and tinged upper tail coverts.

On the morning of 2nd of December 2015, Alan Ng went down to Bidadari Cemetery with his pals Robin Tan and Hio John to photograph the Mugimaki Flycatcher, Ficedula mugimaki, last seen the day before at a ficus tree at the Maria Stella High School end of the cemetery. The first winter male Mugimaki was there and so was another flycatcher flying around at the lower branches. It looked very much like an Asian Brown Flycatcher, Muscicapa dauurica, But it had some rufous rump and the black bill did not fit the Asian Brown which they know so well. Good thing that they all took some shots and showed Robin’s photos to See Toh Yew Wai. See Toh knew straight away that this was a different flycatcher and asked for help. Ding Li and Albert Low then identified it as a female Narcissus Flycatcher Ficedula narcissina, based on Hio John’s photo showing the rufous tinged wing coverts and rump. Albert Low got his global lifer when he rushed down after work. So did See Toh, Lim Kim Keang, Con Foley and others who went down that evening. By then the flycatcher was foraging much higher up.

Narcissus FC 2 John Hio

Whitish underparts with variable mottling on the breast.

Those of us who turned up the next morning were disappointed. Only the Mugimaki Flycatcher and a suspect Green-backed Flycatcher were seen. Another brownish flycatcher with a very similar looking upperparts was seen for a few seconds. Unfortunately Jimmy Lee and Alan OwYong could not see its wings and tail to identified it.  And that was the last of any trace of this flycatcher.


The Narcissus Flycatcher was split into this nominate species and the Green-backed elisae ( King et al 1975). So far we have been getting the Green-backed Flycatcher confirmed and added into our checklist. The Records Committee has agreed and accepted this sighting as the Narcissus Flycatcher under Category A. It has been added to the 2015 Official Check List. This is the first record of a Narcissus Flycatcher in Singapore. Congratulations.

The Narcissus Flycatcher is native to Sakhalin through Japan, Korea and mainland China. Highly migratory it winters in South East Asia including the Philippines and Borneo ( Birdlife International 2012)

Reference: The Avifauna of Singapore. Lim Kim Seng. 2009. A field Guide to The Birds of Thailand and South-East Asia. Craig Robson. Asia Book Co. Ltd 2000. Photos: Hio John.


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