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Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone viridis).

Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone viridis)

The adult male African paradise flycatcher is about 17 cm long, but the very long tail streamers double this.  It has a black head, neck and underparts, and chestnut wings and tail. There is a prominent white wingbar. The female has a browner tint to the underparts and lacks the wingbar and tail streamers. Young birds are similar to the female but duller.


The African paradise flycatcher is a noisy bird with a harsh scolding call.  The song has piping notes tzzee switty-sweety-tsweep-sweepy-taweep, and variations; raspy zweet-zwayt or zweet-zweet-zwayt alarm call.


Usually found in open forests and savannah habitats.  Also thickets and other types of woodland, gardens, exotic plantations.


Widespread in southern Africa, except in highest and drier parts.


Solitary or in pairs. Hawks insects in quick sallies from perch; flight undulating and graceful; looks like swooping orange rocket. Quite vocal, often detected by first voice, despite bright coloration; tame but unobtusive. Bathes by plunge-diving into water.


It is insectivorous, often hunting by flycatching.


Mainly October to January.  Two or three eggs are laid in a tiny cup nest in a tree.  The eggs are creamy or pinkish white eggs, sparingly spotted with reddish brown in zone around thick end.
Incubation and fledging: Incubation is 7-15 days, and nestling lasts for 10-12 days.  The chicks are fed by both parents, and the chicks are dependent on parents for at least one week after leaving nest.

Gordon Lindsay Maclean: Roberts’ Birds of Southern Africa, Sesde Uitgawe. 1993.

Kenneth Newman: Newman’s Birds by Colour. 2000.

Introductory Photograph (Bird of Paradise in Nest) by resident Alex Delides