About 14 centimetres long, this slim bird lacks distinctive features. It has greyish-brown upperparts and off-white underparts, with dark streaks on its breast, throat sides and head. Young birds have spots on their upper feathers, which give this species its name.
This migratory bird can be found across Europe, and it winters in Africa. It breeds in gardens, parks and forests.
Sitting upright, the spotted flycatcher hunts from exposed perches, flicking its tail and watching for flying insects. After catching insects in flight it usually returns to the same perch. It nests in holes in tree trunks or crevices in buildings.