Little Slaty Flycatcher Ficedula basilanica


Justification of Red List category
This flycatcher is believed to be undergoing a rapid decline because of widespread lowland forest loss, resulting in a small and severely fragmented remaining population, which qualifies it as Vulnerable (Collar et al. 1999).

Population justification
The population size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 2,500-9,999 mature individuals. This equates to 3,750-14,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Trend justification
A rapid and on-going population decline is suspected, owing to rapid and continuing deforestation and habitat degradation across the species's range.

Distribution and population

Ficedula basilanica is endemic to the Philippines, where it occurs on Samar, Leyte, Dinagat, Mindanao and Basilan. It is known from numerous widely scattered records within this range and was considered fairly common on Mindanao and Basilan in the early 20th century. It now appears to be rare, with post-1980 records from fewer than 10 localities, all on Mindanao. However, recent mist-net surveys in eastern Mindanao indicate that it may remain patchily frequent in suitable habitat and is probably under-recorded during observational fieldwork. In addition, there have been very few recent ornithological visits to other islands within its range.


It inhabits the dense understorey of lowland primary and secondary forest, usually below 900 m but occasionally up to 1,200 m. It tolerates selectively logged forest and also frequents forest on limestone karst. It is unobtrusive, always remaining close to the forest floor.


Its entire range has suffered extensive lowland deforestation. In 1988, forest cover had been reduced to an estimated 29% on Mindanao, most of it above 1,000 m. Most remaining lowland forest is leased to logging concessions or mining applications. In 1989, it was estimated that Samar and Leyte had as little as 433 km2 of old-growth dipterocarp forest remaining. Dinagat has lost virtually all of its lowland forest through illegal logging and chromite surface-mining. On Mindanao, one recent locality, Samal, is due for conversion to a golf course, and forest at Bislig is being cleared under concession and re-planted with exotic trees for paper production.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
It has been recorded recently in Mts Apo and Malindang National Parks. In addition, there are pre-1980 records from the Mt Hilong-hilong Watershed Reserve and the Basilan Natural Biotic Area.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Tape-record its vocalisations and use playback combined with mist-netting to establish its current distribution and population status in remnant lowland forest tracts, particularly in areas from which the species is known historically, including Mt Lobi, (Leyte) and Mts Diwata and Dapiak (Mindanao). Conduct studies to determine its ecological requirements, with specific reference to the level of tolerance of disturbed and secondary habitats. Campaign for the effective protection of important sites and propose further key sites found to support populations for formal protection.


12 cm. Small, heavy-billed, short-tailed, skulking flycatcher. Male has slate-grey head and upperparts with browner flight feathers. Flaring white supercilium behind eye, often concealed but prominent when singing. White underparts with indistinct grey breast-band and flanks. Pale pink legs. Female has rufescent-brown head and upperparts, brighter on uppertail-coverts. Pale buff eye-ring. White underparts washed rufous on breast and flanks. Similar spp. Male similar to female Little Pied Flycatcher F. westermanni but differs in darker upperparts, supercilium, habits and behaviour. Female similar to Cryptic Flycatcher F. crypta which lacks an eye-ring. Voice Quiet, high-pitched, descending three-note call. Song comprises beautiful, watery, warbling phrases. Hints Extremely skulking, perches close to ground, best located by voice.


Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Derhé, M., Gilroy, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Species factsheet: Ficedula basilanica. Downloaded from on 23/02/2024.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2024) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/02/2024.