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the web of life in southern Africa

Myioparus plumbeus (Grey tit-flycatcher, Fan-tailed flycatcher) 

Waaierstertvlieëvanger [Afrikaans]; Mees-vliegenvanger [Dutch]; Gobemouche mésange [French]; Meisenschnäpper [German]; Para-moscas-de-leque [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: Muscicapidae

Myioparus plumbeus (Grey tit-flycatcher, Fan-tailed flycatcher)   

Grey tit-flycatcher. [photo Sion Stanton ©]


Distribution and habitat

Occupies patches across sub-Saharan Africa, from Senegal to Ethiopia south to southern Africa. Here it is localised and uncommon, occurring in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, north-eastern South Africa, northern Botswana and the Caprivi Strip (Namibia). It generally prefers miombo (Brachystegia) woodland, bushveld, riverine forest and the edge of lowland evergreen forest.

Distribution of Grey tit-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). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Predators and parasites

It has been recorded as prey of Accipiter minullus (Little sparrowhawk).


It mainly eats insects doing most of its foraging in the tree canopy, gleaning prey from leaves and branches. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


  • The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of a thin-walled cup built of roots, fine grass, shredded bark and lichens, lined with feathers and flowers. It is typically placed in a cavity in a tree, either natural or made by a woodpecker or barbet.
  • Egg-laying season is from August-January, peaking from October-December.
  • It lays 2-3 dull white eggs, thickly spotted with olive and brown.


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.