Ferruginous Flycatcher: April 30th 2002, Eocheong Island
Nial Moores

Ferruginous Flycatcher Ficedula ferruginea

1 adult on April 30 2002 on Eocheong Island, Gunsan City, Jeollabuk Province. Apparently preceded by 2 on Eocheong Island on April 28th 2002 (J. Dowdall and T. Lancaster).

On April 30th 2002, during a very large fall of migrants on Eocheong Island caused by heavy rain with fog banks, Nial Moores and two other observers, N. Lethaby and G. Lillie, watched as a Chinese Sparrowhawk Accipiter soloensis flushed about fifty passerines out of a row of trees. One of these was a Ferruginous Flycatcher, which flew onto telegraph wires where it remained for about 5 minutes giving a high-pitched "zeeet" alarm call, reminiscent of Grey-Streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa griseisticta. Identification was straightforward (as Nial Moores had seen the species previously in Thailand and Malaysia, and N. Lethaby was also familiar with the species). The bird was small-looking, similar in size to Asian Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa dauurica with an oddly large head. The head was grey, with a clear white eye-ring, and a paler throat. The rest of the upperparts were rufous brown, brightest on the rump and especially the tail, which was reddish. The underparts were largely washed through with bright orange. The bill was solid, heavy and black and the legs were dark.

After flying off the wires, the bird was searched for unsuccessfully by the other ten birdwatchers on the island. Two of these, Jim DOWDALL and Tony Lancaster (highly experienced birdwatchers from Ireland and England, but unfamiliar with Ferruginous Flycatcher) looked at illustrations in Robson (2000). They were both immediately convinced that two "Redstart-like birds" they had seen on April 28th, with grey heads, orange underparts and bright reddish tails (mistakenly identified by them at the time as exceptionally bright female Blue-and-White Flycatchers Cyanoptila cyanomelana) were instead actually Ferruginous Flycatchers.

The Ferruginous Flycatcher is a likely spring vagrant to Korea, as it is widely distributed (though typically in low densities) throughout most of Southeast Asia, migrating northwards to breed in South Gansu, South Shaanxi, Sichuan, West Yunnan and Southeast Xizang (MacKinnon and Phillipps 2000). In addition, it breeds as close to Korea as Taiwan, where the same authors describe it as both common and a partial migrant. The species has also been recorded in Japan, with four records cited in Brazil (1991), all in April and May on islands in the southwest of the country.