Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone corvine)

Length: 20 cm / 7.9 inches
Wingspan: 23 cm / 9.1 inches
Conservation Status:  Critically Endangered

The Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher is beautiful bird, endemic to La Digue and critically endangered. These stunning birds reside mainly on the plateau and adjacent higher areas of La Digue, though they have also been observed on Marianne and occasionally on Félicité. A former resident of the marshes in eastern Praslin, the Flycatcher was sadly lost there as recently as 1989. The species is highly threatened by ongoing habitat loss; however it is now the subject of a recovery programme.

Males have entirely black plumage with a subtle glossy blue sheen.  They have a shaggy crest on their hind crown, black eyes and long trailing tail feathers.  There eye-rings, bill and gape are pale blue and they have short blue-grey legs.  In stark contrast, the females have a black head and throat, whitish underside and golden brown mantle, wings.  The female's tail is also golden brown, but lacks the streamer length quality of the male. Juveniles' are much like the adult female, with males gradually moulting into their adult black plumage, after which their impressive tail feathers develop.

The song of the Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher is an ascending whistling, while they have a harsher sounding alarm call.

These birds will usually perch on branches for long periods of time before ascending into flight and soaring through the air to catch insects.  Pair and family parties can sometimes be spotted chasing each other excitedly through the trees.

Photographs kindly provided by Doug Howes & STB

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