Australian Bush Birds
Restless Flycatcher  -  Myiagra inquieta
Restless Flycatcher
The Restless Flycatcher is matt grey on the lower back, glossy blue-black on the upper back and white underneath with yellow-buff across the throat/breast. In sunlight the head is glossy dark blue but in shadow appears closer to black. (Warren, NSW)
Restless Flycatcher
The head appears almost black when in shadow. Crown feathers are raised in a low crest.
The Restless Flycatcher (Myiagra inquieta) is coloured dusky-slate on the back grading into glossy blue-back head and wings. Lores are matt black. Entire underparts are white from the lower bill down with a slight yellow-buff wash across the breast. A short crest is frequently raised. Male and female are similar in appearance; females have grey rather than black lores. Immatures are coloured as for adults with dull blackish-grey above and stronger yellow-buff wash on the breast. 19 to 21 centimetres.

Restless Flycatcher - page 2
map map Restless Flycatchers live in open forest, woodlands, farmlands and inland scrub. Alone or in well-dispersed pairs. They are restless when perched with the tail waving (similar to the Willie Wagtail but without the spread tail or the swishing movement of that species ); soon move to a different perch or dart after a flying insect. Hovers over grass, branches and foliage with the bill open producing a grinding, churring sound which appears to disturb insects into moving. Perches on stumps under house eaves and near windows taking spiders and insects. They often hover to take insects off leaves and branches. When hovering it hangs almost vertically with head and spread tail pointing downward. The short crest is frequently raised.

A brief glance may confuse this bird with the Willie Wagtail but closer inspection shows differences; The Restless Flycatchers' white underside continues up to the beak and the tail is squarer; the shape is different, especially when the crest is raised.

photograph photograph
Left: In sunlight the dark-blue crown is easy to see.
Right: The crest can be raised at will.
Inhabits southern Queensland (up to Julia Creek and Mt Isa), all of New South Wales and Victoria and the south-eastern half of South Australia. A separate population is found in south-western Western Australia. A slightly different version found across the northern half of Australia (except for Cape York) is variously described as sub-species nana or as a separate species (Myiagra nana.

Breeding takes place from late July or August to January. Male and female share building the nest; a neat, shallow, broad-based cup of fine strips of bark or fine grass, usually camouflaged with lichen and small grey pieces of bark, bound closely with cobweb; lined with fine grasses, rootlets, hair or fur; placed in an exposed position on a dead horizontal limbs near or over water and 1 to 20 metres above the ground.

Three or four eggs are laid; dull to greyish-white with small markings of grey-brown and lavender usually at the larger end. Oval, about 21 by 16 millimetres. Incubation takes about 14 days by both parents. The young fledge in about 14 days. Both parents brood and feed their young. After breeding the young and adults disperse, some wandering locally, others going further; south-eastern populations move northward in winter, some reaching mid-Queensland.

Up to three broods may be raised in a season with a new nest built each time. New nests are completed in four to seven days while the first one takes longer.