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Erythrocercus livingstonei (Livingstone's flycatcher) 

RooistertvlieŽvanger [Afrikaans]; Palalithupa [South Sotho]; Grijskop-elfmonarch [Dutch]; Mignard enchanteur [French]; Elfenschnšpper [German]; Papa-moscas de Livingstone [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Passeriformes > Family: Sylviidae

Erythrocercus livingstonei (Livingstone's flycatcher)   

Livingstone's flycatcher, Liwonde, Malawi. [photo © Dave Appleton, www.gobirding.eu]


Distribution and habitat

Occurs from Tanzania, southern Malawi and northern Mozambique to southern Africa. Here it is locally common in patches across Mozambique and northern Zimbabwe. It generally prefers to live in the canopy of riverine forest or woodlands of Acacia, miombo (Brachystegia), mohobobo (Uapaca) or Mopane (Colosphermum mopane) trees.

Distribution of Livingstone's flycatcher in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common).



Its diet is little known, but is thought to consist mostly of insects. It often forages in groups, actively searching for prey in the foliage and undergrowth of the woodland. Every 20-30 minutes they take a break to rest, preening themselves and other members of the group.


  • The nest is unique among southern African flycatcher nests, as it is a ball or oval with a side entrance, built of layers of dead leaves secured with spider's web. It is typically deep in the tree canopy amongst leaves and seed pods, often extremely camouflaged and difficult to see.
  • Egg-laying has only been recorded 7 times in southern Africa, all of which where recorded during January and February.
  • It lays 2-3 eggs, which hatch into chicks that are fed by both parents and possibly other group members.


Not threatened.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 

  • Harrison, J.A., Allan, D.G., Underhill, L.G., Herremans, M., Tree. A.J., Parker, V. & Brown, C.J. (eds). 1997. The atlas of southern African birds. Vol. 2: Passerines. BirdLife South Africa, Johannesburg.