AppearanceAdults of the nominate are plain grey in colour overall, with a solidly grey tail. The upperparts are darker and the underpart are paler. They have thin dark loral lines bordered above by a supraloral white line.
DistributionIt is found in Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
StatusIt is listed as least concern. It has a large range, a stable population, is common to uncommon throughout its range, and occurs in a number of protected areas.
BehaviorIt is a restless and active bird that is constantly moving and shifting. It has been observed sunbathing on the ground.
HabitatThe ashy flycatcher inhabits a variety of forest and woodland. It occurs near forest edges and enters forest only if it has been logged or opened by roads. It is also known to inhabit open gallery forest, secondary growth, riverine strips, and some plantations. It occurs in peanut and cassava fields with scattered tall trees and borders of shrubs or bushes, along with miombo woodland, dense woodland thickets, open riverine woodland, and thornveld and thorn-scrub. It inhabits altitudes of up to 1,500 m, although it is known to occur at altitudes of up to 1,800 m in eastern Africa.
ReproductionThe birds are monogamous. Pairs are solitary and territorial, maintaining territories of up to 20 ha, although breeding pairs keep territories of only 1-4 ha. They are known to inhabit old weaver bird nests. Eggs are laid in clutches of 2-3, with the colour being described as "glossy; creamy white to light buff, finely speckled yellowish brown or reddish." The incubation period is 14 days.
FoodThe ashy flycatcher forages singly, in pairs, or in groups of up to seven individuals. It is also known to sometimes join mixed-species flocks while foraging.
Foraging is typically done in the upper levels of vegetation, between the treetops and the undercanopy. Ashy flycatchers typically sit upright on exposed perches. Food is caught by making short circular flights to catch flying insects or hovering to catch prey in foliage. It also gleans insects from foliage and bark.
Its diet consists of mostly insects, mainly beetles, flies, grasshoppers, adult and larval moths and butterflies, winged ants, and termites. Prey tends to be 5-35 mm in size, with the majority being between 15-20 mm in size. They have also been observed eating small fruit and berries, and rarely, geckos up to 5 cm in length.
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