The Narcissus Flycatcher is a summer bird that comes to the broad-leaved forests of Japan in April. With the exception of Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, this bird mostly spends its time in mountainous areas. During its migrating season (spring and fall), the birds can be found in lowland gardens and parks. The Narcissus Flycatcher winters in Southeast Asia, returning to Japan in the spring and summer to breed.
Play birds singing
The Narcissus Flycatcher, which catches flying insects, derives its name from the Narcissus flower. Narcissus, of course, is also a figure from Greek mythology, a beautiful young boy who fell in love with his own reflection in the water. According to legend, he drowned and was transformed into the plant bearing his name. Needless to say, the Narcissus Flycatcher is not a narcissist but was so named because the brilliant yellow plumage of males calls to mind the vivid yellow coloration of Narcissus flowers.
Smaller than a sparrow, the Narcissus Flycatcher is not easily noticed in the forest, even the colorful male. You will, however, be able to find it during the breeding season (early summer), locating it by its piccolo-like song. Male Narcissus Flycatchers are known to sing very often.
The best chance to catch a glimpse of the Narcissus Flycatcher is during its migratory season, when it can be found in parks and gardens. Unfortunately, because the bird does not sing in the fall, it is much more difficult to find based on its voice. At this time of the year there are also a lot of young male Narcissus Flycatchers, which appear almost identical to the female birds. Therefore, if you want to find a Narcissus Flycatcher in your vicinity, you will have to pay careful attention.
Blessed with a beautiful voice and attractive plumage, is the male Narcissus Flycatcher deserving of envy? Let's think about the principal of the food chain, noting that most lives serve to sustain the lives of other life forms. Because the number of offspring that do not survive is greater than those that do, it is in the best interest of animals to leave as many offspring as possible.
The most important role for the female is laying eggs. Accordingly, the female Narcissus Flycatcher expends much energy to fulfill this objective, a task that does not require attracting attention to itself. The male Narcissus Flycatcher, on the other hand, must court females and protect its territory. Since it is the female's privilege to select its partner, the male must rely on its beautiful appearance and song to be selected, as well as to protect its territory.
The reason why the male Narcissus Flycatcher sings every spring is because, even if it succeeds in pairing with a female, the relationship comes to an end once their chicks are grown. Although most birds are monogamous, due to the low survival rate among wild birds, familial relationships only last through the breeding season.
Differing markedly from the eye-catching adult males, female and young male Narcissus Flycatchers lack feathers with any distinctive pattern. Although they do not generally sing, they will occasionally emit calls that sound like “pio” or “quriri.”
Most birds that spend the summer in Japan will migrate to Southeast Asia in September and October. The Narcissus Flycatcher and other members of the Muscicapidae family, however, remain in Japan, but the somber coloration of females and young males rarely attracts attention.
Canon sites where this bird is seen