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Semi-collared Flycatcher Ficedula semitorquata

This poorly-studied migratory species is estimated to be undergoing a moderately rapid population decline, probably as a result of habitat loss on its breeding grounds. Consequently, it is classified as Near Threatened.

Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
Cramp, S.; Perrins, C. M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Distribution and population
Ficedula semitorquata breeds in south-east Europe - in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, FYR Macedonia, Russia and Turkey - as well as in north-eastern Iran (Cramp and Perrins 1993; Urban et al. 1997). In parts of its range the exact distribution is poorly documented and is deduced from sporadic observations of (possible) breeding pairs in suitable habitat.Little information is available regarding wintering behaviour of the species. It winters in a comparatively small region of East Africa, from Sudan and South Sudan through western Kenya, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi to Tanzania. Following a decline during 1970-1990 (Tucker and Heath 1994), the European population - which is estimated at 15,000-53,000 pairs (BirdLife International 2004) - continued to decline across much of its range during 1990-2000 (including key populations in Turkey and Russia) (BirdLife International 2004).

Population justification
The European population is estimated at 15,000-53,000 breeding pairs. The size of the population in Iran unknown, but Europe is estimated to constitute 50-74% of the global breeding range, so a preliminary estimate of the global population size is 40,000-210,000 individuals.

Trend justification
Population declines have continued across much of south-east Europe during 1990-2000, including key populations in Turkey and European Russia (BirdLife International 2004). It is estimated that the species may have declined overall by more than 20% over ten years.

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) as well as temperate riverine and swamp forests of Fraxinus oxycarpa; and in plane Platanus orientalis galleries (Handrinos, 1997). Occasionally, the species breeds in old or abandoned orchards, groves and tree plantations, urban parks and large gardens or forested peripheral parts of towns, villages and industrial sites (Iankov, 2007). It breeds in tree hollows created by woodpeckers, but will also use nest boxes. However, nest boxes cannot compensate for the loss of suitable habitats and especially as terminal stages of the logging rotation is reached.

The species suffers from habitat destruction in some areas, which is likely to be responsible for recent declines. Lowland oak (Quercus spp.) forests in Bulgaria (its favoured habitat in this country) have been overexploited for timber, and riparian forests have been cleared for riverbed corrections. In eastern Turkey, its riparian forest habitat is threatened by ongoing dam projects, and the rapid loss of other Quercus forests may also be having a negative impact (S. Isfendiyaroglu in litt. 2005).

Conservation Actions Underway
EU Birds Directive Annex I. CMS Appendix II. Bern Convention Resolution 6. Species action plan for Ficedula semitorquata in the European Union was published in 2009 (Georgiev and Iankov 2009). BirdLife International project mapping of Biologically Important Forests in Bulgaria and Romania. Similar project implemented in Greece in 2008.
Conservation Actions Proposed
Develop a monitoring programme to assess population size and trends. Assess threats to the species and develop appropriate responses. Ensure forest management practices within the distribution area of the species take into account the habitat requirements of the species. Ensure Natura 2000 sites and protected areas that include  the species are protected from damage and have management plans under implementation.

BirdLife International. 2004. Birds in Europe: population estimates, trends and conservation status. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Cramp, S.; Perrins, C. M. 1993. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic vol VII: flycatchers to shrikes. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Georgiev, K. and Iankov, P. 2009. International species action plan for the semi-collared flycatcher Ficedula semitorquata in the European Union. BirdLife International for the European Commission.

Handrinos, G.; Akriotis, T. 1997. The birds of Greece. Christopher Helm, London.

Hogner, S. 2008. Mulitlocus sequence analyses of the near threatened Semi-collared flycatcher (Ficedula semitorquata) and a comparison with three other Ficedula flycatcher species. Center for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis.

Iankov, P. 2007. Atlas of breeding birds in Bulgaria. BSPB, Sofia.

Tucker, G. M.; Heath, M. F. 1994. Birds in Europe: their conservation status. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Urban, E. K.; Fry, C. H.; Keith, S. 1997. The birds of Africa vol. V. Academic Press, London.

Further web sources of information
Detailed regional assessment and species account from the European Red List of Birds (BirdLife International, 2015)

Detailed species account from Birds in Europe: population estimates, trends and conservation status (BirdLife International 2004)

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

View photos and videos and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Derhé, M., Ekstrom, J., Harding, M., Pople, R.

Balkiz, O., Isfendiyaroglu, S.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2015) Species factsheet: Ficedula semitorquata. Downloaded from on 09/10/2015. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2015) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 09/10/2015.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Semi-collared flycatcher (Ficedula semitorquata) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Muscicapidae (Chats and Old World flycatchers)
Species name author (Homeyer, 1885)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 855,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- 2015 European Red List assessment