Wildlife in Italy: black codfish Ficedula hypoleuca Pallas, 1764

Wildlife in Italy: black codfish Ficedula hypoleuca Pallas, 1764

Systematic classification and distribution

Class: Birds
Order: Passeriformi
Family: Flycatcher
Kind: Ficedula
Species: F. hypoleuca Pallas, 1764

Long-range migratory species, it is present in Eurasia and northwestern Africa. It winters in central-western Africa. In Italy it is present in passing and occasionally nests in the northern regions.

The black nurse has three subspecies:
- Ficedula hypoleuca hypoleuca (Pallas, 1764)
- Ficedula hypoleuca iberiae (Witherby, 1928)
- Ficedula hypoleuca sibirica (Khakhlov, 1915)
- Ficedula hypoleuca tomensis

Black pot - Ficedula hypoleuca

Black pot - Ficedula hypoleuca (photo www.pbase.com)

Black pot - Ficedula hypoleuca

Distinctive characters

Length: 12-13 cm
Wingspan: 22-24 cm

The adult male in a summer suit has completely black upper parts, including wings, with the exception of a white wing band which can be seen both when it is posed and when it is in flight. The tail above is black with two small white areas on the external helmsman. On the forehead there is a small white spot. The lower parts are completely white. Beak and legs are black. There is also a variant of coloring for males where the upper parts instead of black are gray-brown (always with white spot on the forehead). The adult females are brown superiorly with the outer part of the wings and the tail of a darker brown. The white wing band and the white external helmsmen are present as in the male, while the spot on the white forehead is missing. The lower parts are white with tawny shades on the chest and part of the throat. The young resemble the females but with coloring in the upper parts tending to reddish and markedly more tawny lower parts. The white wing bar is also tinged with fawn.


It nests in the hollows of trees and buildings. The eggs, laid in a number of 4 or 5, are blue or greenish in color, uniform in color or with subtle punctuation. It feeds on insects, small invertebrates and berries.

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