Australian Bush Birds
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Satin Flycatcher  -  Myiagra cyanoleuca
Satin Flycatcher
The male Satin Flycatcher is coloured white underneath and deep satin blue on the head, back and tail.
Satin Flycatcher
The female Satin Flycatcher is coloured differently to the male with dusky blue back and head with an orange-buff throat and upper breast; underside is white, the tail has a pale edge. The pair of birds in these photographs was foraging together in banksia trees along the boardwalk at Urunga, NSW.
map map The male Satin Flycatcher - Myiagra cyanoleuca - has white breast and underside with dark back, tail and wings. Back of the head is blue-black. Eye is black-brown, bill is deep blue-grey with black tip, feet are black. The male Satin Flycatcher is similar in appearance to the Leaden Flycatcher although the Satin is larger, darker and longer-tailed than the Leaden. There are also habitat differences; the Satin forages and breeds in coastal heath scrub, mangroves, wetter eucalyptus forests of coastal southeastern Australia (in gullies and on plains) but avoids rainforest.

Satin Flycatcher - page 2
Females are dusky blue-grey above with head and face the same colour; breast is medium orange-buff with colour maintained on the chin; the orange-buff breast merges into white underside. Tail is grey-brown with a pale edge. The female Leaden Fycatcher is similarly coloured but the orange-buff breast becomes noticeably paler on the chin.

Satin Flycatchers feed singly or in pairs through the forest upper strata, they are incessantly on the move taking food (grasshoppers, beetles, blowflies and moths) on the wing either in mid-air or among upper foliage after darting out from a perch, usually a small horizontal twig beneath the forest canopy, to seize prey. Stays at the perch are brief with the tail quivering up and down; the tails ways side to side when landing.

Found along the wet eucalyptus forests of the east coast from Cape York to western Victoria and into Tasmania. In March to April the Satin Flycatchers migrates north to Cape York Peninsula and southeastern New Guinea to spend winter there and in adjacent islands. They return in September and October travelling in ones and twos, possibly at night.

Breeding takes place from about September to January-February. The nest is a broadly based cup of finely shredded bark fibre and grass, tightly coated with cobwebs and occasionally decorated with lichen, lined with rootlets, hair and shredded fibre; inside is about 50 by 31 millimetres. The nest is usually placed in a horizontal fork of dead or near-dead bare branches well out from the trunk under overhanging foliage 3 to 25 metres above the ground. The nest blends in with the branch it is placed on.

Usually three eggs are laid; white to pale bluish green spotted and freckled with grey-browns and underlying purple-grey towards the large end. Oval, about 20 by 16 millimetres. Incubation takes about 17 days, by both parents. Young fledge in about 18 days.

Other names include Shining Flycatcher.

The Leaden Flycatcher is very similar to the Satin Flycatcher; Leaden Flycatcher males are more lead grey than satin-blue but the difference can be hard to confirm. Some sources show the male Satin Flycatcher with dark colouring under the tail while the male Leaden Flycatcher is light-coloured under the tail.

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