The European pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca) is a small passerine bird in the Old World flycatcher family. One of the four species of Western Palearctic black-and-white flycatchers, it hybridizes to a limited extent with the collared flycatcher. It breeds in most of Europe and western Asia. It is migratory, wintering mainly in western Africa. It usually builds its nests in holes on oak trees. This species practices polygyny, usually bigamy, with the male travelling large distances to acquire a second mate. The male will mate with the secondary female and then return to the primary female in order to help with aspects of child rearing, such as feeding.
The European pied flycatcher is mainly insectivorous, although its diet also includes other arthropods. This species commonly feeds on spiders, ants, bees and similar prey.
This is a 12–13.5 centimetres (4.7–5.3 in) long bird. The breeding male is mainly black above and white below, with a large white wing patch, white tail sides and a small forehead patch. The Iberian subspecies iberiae (known as Iberian pied flycatcher) has a larger forehead patch and a pale rump. Non-breeding males, females and juveniles have the black replaced by a pale brown, and may be very difficult to distinguish from other Ficedula flycatchers, particularly the collared flycatcher, with which this species hybridizes to a limited extent.
The bill is black, and has the broad but pointed shape typical of aerial insectivores. As well as taking insects in flight, this species hunts caterpillars amongst the oak foliage, and will take berries. It is therefore a much earlier spring migrant than the more aerial spotted flycatcher, and its loud rhythmic and melodious song is characteristic of oak woods in spring.