The spotted flycatcher (Muscicapa striata) is an undistinguished looking bird with long wings and tail. The adults have grey-brown upperparts and whitish underparts, with a streaked crown and breast, giving rise to the bird's common name. The legs are short and black, and the bill is black and has the broad but pointed shape typical of aerial insectivores. Juveniles are browner than adults and have spots on the upperparts.
The spotted flycatcher is a small slim bird, around 14.5 cm (5.7 in) in length, with a weight of 14–20 g (0.49–0.71 oz).
Spotted flycatchers hunt from conspicuous perches, making sallies after passing flying insects, and often returning to the same perch. Their upright posture is characteristic.
They are birds of deciduous woodlands, parks and gardens, with a preference for open areas amongst trees. They build an open nest in a suitable recess, often against a wall, and will readily adapt to an open-fronted nest box. 4-6 eggs are laid.