Stenostiridae – Fairy Flycatchers

Fairy Flycatcher Stenostira scita ©Trevor Hardaker Website

Stenostiridae, or the fairy flycatchers, are a family of small passerine birds proposed as a result of recent discoveries in molecular systematics. They are also referred to as stenostirid warblers.They were formerly allotted to two different flycatcher and one warbler family but were re-assigned after DNA sequencing. This new clade is named after the fairy flycatcher, a distinct species placed formerly in the Old World flycatchers. This is united with the ‘sylvioid flycatchers’: the genus Elminia (formerly placed in the Monarchinae) and the closely allied former Old World flycatcher genus Culicicapa, as well as one species formerly believed to be an aberrant fantail.

Other African or Asian species might conceivably fall into this novel clade. The tit-flycatchers (Myioparus) are apparently true flycatchers morphologically somewhat convergent to Stenostira.

The Stenostiridae as a whole are related to penduline tits, titmice and chickadees. All these appear to be closer to the Sylvioidea than to other Passerida.

The list below contains all 9 species generally agreed to be in this group as at December 2016. They are:

Fairy Flycatcher Stenostira scita

Yellow-bellied Fantail Chelidorhynx hypoxantha

Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher Culicicapa ceylonensis
Citrine Canary-flycatcher Culicicapa helianthea

African Blue-Flycatcher Elminia longicauda
White-tailed Blue-Flycatcher Elminia albicauda
Dusky Crested-Flycatcher Elminia nigromitrata
White-bellied Crested-Flycatcher Elminia albiventris
White-tailed Crested-Flycatcher Elminia albonotata

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 9

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