Puzzled - Possible Pied Flycatcher Sighting

When out on Saturday I noticed a bird with black and white colouring and a very distinctive flight.  I haven't seen anything like this before but I was wondering if it was a Pied Flycatcher.  The colouring seemed to match but I can't find any description of the flight of a Pied Flycatcher anywhere in the books I have.  The flight was like a very exaggerated bobbing almost like an old fashioned roller coaster when I saw it but it may just have been after flies on the wing.  Apologies that this is vague but I didn't have anything to take a picture with or record the flight.



  • Hi Phil

    Pied Wagtail would possibly fit your description. They also have an undulating flight.

    My bird photos HERE

  • Might be Paul's wagtail, but IMO your description is of a great spotted woodpecker.
  • In reply to Paul A:

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for the reply. I did wonder this but the bird I saw had a black tail but above the tail was white where wagtails are usually darker colour aren't they? These things always happen when you have no binoculars etc, never-mind will have to have a walk around the same place and hope I can see it again.
  • Still sounds like GSW. Where did you see it?
  • In reply to Robbo:


    I was in open fields at the time but wooded areas nearby. The flight was very exaggerated at one point as described above but then it flew straight. This made me think was it trying to catch something in-flight,. I will just have to go back and see if it is about again. It was very hard to gauge the size as well with it flying away from me.

    Thanks for your replies guys.
  • Ok. Seeing pied flycathers in open fields are extremely unlikely esp at this time of year when they'll be breeding. Catching flies in the open is also not what they do. They'll be in (primarily) oak woodland (primarily) in the West of the UK, and spending much of their time at the moment fetching caterpillars off of foliage in large, mature trees.

    I still think it's GSW. Seeing them daily here and as we have fields one garden away, they're often undulating across the fields from nearby oak trees.

  • I think Robbo is right withn G.S.Woody


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