African Paradise Flycatchers

The African Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone viridis) is a medium-sized forest bird.

They are closely related to the Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher with which they interbreed in the wild. The resulting hybrids have a black and red under plumage.

Distribution / Range

The African Paradise Flycatcher is a common resident breeder in Africa, south of the Sahara Desert.

They are usually found in open forests and savannah habitats.


The adult male African Paradise Flycatcher measures about 6.7 inches or 17cm in length – but the very long tail streamers double its length..

It has a black head, neck and under plumage. The tail and wings are chestnut colored. It has a prominent white wingbar and short legs It sits very upright when perching, like a shrike.

The female has a browner tint to the under plumage and lacks the wingbar and tail streamers.

The males show considerable variation in plumage in some areas. There is a morph (genetic mutation) of this species in which the male has the chestnut parts of the plumage replaced by white, and some races have black tail streamers.

Juvenile birds resemble the female, but have a duller plumage.

Hybrids: The African Paradise Flycatcher interbreeds with the related Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher. The under plumage of hybrids is a mixture of black and red.

Black-headed Paradise Flycatcher
African Flycatcher Female on Nest Duty

Nesting / Breeding

The average clutch consists of two or three eggs that are laid in a tiny cup nest in a tree.

Call / Vocalization

The African Paradise Flycatchers are noisy birds with a harsh scolding call.

Diet / Feeding

The African Paradise Flycatcher mainly eats insects – usually hunting them by flycatching.

African Flycatcher
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Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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