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White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher - BirdForum Opus

Nominate - broad eye ring
Photo © by volker sthamer
Arusha, Tanzania, 13 September 2019
Melaenornis fischeri

Dioptornis fischeri


Size 15 centimeters / 6 inches
Weight 16-33 grams/1/2 – 1 ounce

Nominate subspecies
• Head, neck, and upper body a darker shade of blue-tinged gray
• Sides, under the tail, chin to the throat, and breast a lighter shade of blue tinged gray, becoming closer to white on the belly, the thighs darker
• Eyes dark brown with noticeable eye ring
• Shiny feathers with darker blue tinged gray edges
• Bill tip black with the base bluish
• Black legs
• Sexes similar
• Minimal eye ring in juvenile


M. f. toruensis
Photo © by volker sthamer
Buhoma, Uganda, 20 July 2019

M.f. toruensis
Eye ring is narrower and harder to see

M.f. nyikensis
Upper portion of body is darker than M.f. fischeri, eye ring is narrow but more visible, bill is black.

M.f. semicinctus
Similar to M.f. fischeri, but with the eye ring not continuous. The break more pronounced in front of the eye, but still present to a lesser degree behind it.


Western Africa: occurs only in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Eastern Africa: found in Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi


Formerly placed in genus Dioptrornis.


There are 4 subspecies.[1]

  • M. f. fischeri:
  • M. f. toruensis:
  • M. f. nyikensis:
  • Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (Highlands of Marungu), Malawi, far North East Zambia (Western Nyika Plateau) and East and South Tanzania.
  • M. f. semicinctus:
  • North East Democratic Republic of the Congo (highlands West of Lake Albert).


Dense montane forest, more at the edge as opposed to the interior.

Woodlands, village trees, Hagenia woods of Kivu volcanoes at elevations of 1350-3380 m/4430-11,089 ft, but primarily at 4593-8200 ft.

Occurs at the edges of fringing forest, dry forest, open woodland, scattered trees among open areas with short grass and gardens in Kenya.


Forages in pairs or groups during daylight hours. Perches on a structure to look for food as it passes below and, when seen, flies down to catch it before returning to the perch to eat. Will manipulate prey after on the perch to remove impediments such as a stinger. Will look under leaves on the ground in the quest for food.


Insects such as grassshoppers, ants, small size reptiles and amphibians. On occasion small berries.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Taylor, B. (2020). White-eyed Slaty-Flycatcher (Melaenornis fischeri), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott, J. Sargatal, D. A. Christie, and E. de Juana, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.wheslf1.01

Recommended Citation

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