African Stonechat with food in its beak

Old world flycatchers

Old world flycatchers are a family of insect-eating birds. As their name suggests, they are found in the old world: Palaearctic, Afrotropic and Indo-Malayan ecozones. There are 116 species in the family, most of whom have bristles round their beak that help them catch their insect prey. Some flycatchers catch insects on the wing, others hunt for them on the ground.

Scientific name: Muscicapidae

Rank: Family


Map showing the distribution of the Old world flycatchers taxa

The shading illustrates the diversity of this group - the darker the colour the greater the number of species. Data provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

Explore this group


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

When they lived

Discover the other animals and plants that lived during the following geological time periods.


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Vertebrates
  4. Birds
  5. Perching birds
  6. Old world flycatchers

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.