Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher

Brown-chested jungle flycatchers (Cyornis brunneatus) are members of the Old World flycatcher family (muscicapidae). It is part of the genus Cyornis, which contains most of the “blue flycatchers” of Southeast Asia.

Native to southern China, they winter by flying south along a rather precise route through to the Malaysian Peninsula and finally Sumatra. These birds pass through Hong Kong as one of their earliest stops on their migration south, around the very end of August and early September.

They are rather uncommonly seen in Hong Kong, due perhaps to both their relative scarcity and also their behavior. They sit silently on branches in dense forests looking for insects on the ground, so it’s quite easy to walk right by them without even noticing. Ebird describes them as “lethargic,” and my experience coincides with this.

The plumage is overall brown and olive, darker on the outer wings. Brown extends around the chest but stops short of fully covering the breast, which is white. They have a noticeably curved beak tip, as well as a distinctive bicolored beak overall. They call with a descending whistle.

They are considered to be a vulnerable species due to habitat loss according to the IUCN Red List.