Abstract Genetic segregation analysis for flag leaf angle was conducted using six generations of P1, P2, F1, B1, B2 and F2 derived from a cross of 863B (a maintainer line of japonica rice) and A7444 (a germplasm with large flag leaf angle). Genotypes and phenotypes of flag leaf angle were investigated in 863B (P1), A7444 (P2) and 141 plants in BC1F1 (863B/A7444//863B) population. An SSR genetic linkage map was constructed and QTLs for flag leaf angle were detected. The genetic map containing 79 information loci was constructed, which covers a total distance of 441.6 cM, averaging 5.6 cM between two neighboring loci. Results showed that the trait was controlled by two major genes plus polygene and the major genes were more important. Fifteen markers showed highly significant correlations with flag leaf angle based on single marker regression analysis. Two QTLs (qFLA2 and qFLA8) for flag leaf angle were detected by both composite interval method in software WinQTLCart 2.5 and composite interval method based on mixed linear model in QTL Network 2.0. The qFLA2 explained 10.50% and 13.28% of phenotypic variation, respectively, and was located at the interval of RM300 and RM145 on the short arm of chromosome 2. The qFLA8 explained 9.59% and 7.64% of phenotypic variation, respectively, and was located at the interval flanking RM6215 and RM8265 on the long arm of chromosome 8. The positive alleles at the two QTLs were both contributed from A7444.