Black-naped Monarch Monarchidae
Return to Index page Flycatchers Asian Paradise Flycatchers

Monarchids as these birds are called are small insect eating songbirds with long tails. Both the Monarch and The Paradise Flycatchers found here are slim birds with the bills stout but not broad . The plumage of the Paradise Flycatchers spectacular while that of the Monarch is somber and almost monochrome.

It is difficult to mention about Monarch without touching on the Paradise Flycatchers. Both are almost identical in a lot of aspect and yet are so different in many ways.

They are forest dwellers found across sub-Saharan Africa, south-east Asia, Australasia and a number of Pacific islands. The Monarch is found in forest and woodland habitats remaining in the lower storey and straying to the middle storey. Their nest located in obvious position and the birds decorate their cup-shaped nests with lichen

Worldwide there should be 140 species and are accorded to various family groups based on general morphology or behavior. The Paradise Flycatchers migrate while the Monarch flycatchers are remain as resident.


Then from this large grouping and narrowing the birds down to Monarch and Paradise Flycatchers there are 98 species worldwide and most of them outside Asia. Those related and found in South East Asia are these 3 species and of which 2 of them can be spotted in Malaysia

Black-naped Monarch Hypothymis azurea
Asian Paradise-flycatcher Terpsiphone paradisi
Japanese Paradise-flycatcher Terpsiphone atrocaudata

This page focuses on the Black-naped Monrach.

The origin of the Black-naped Monarch was traced to the Indian sub-continent, south China, the Sunda Islands. This is a bird 17 cm in size is found in the lowland forest and like those in other countries, the bird could also be seen in sub-montane area. The bird prefers the middle storey of trees and could descend to the lower storey or even nest in open scrubs as some pictures here show. It hunts alone and with the company of bird waves but hardly as a pack of its own kind.

Black-naped Monarch - Hypothymis azurea prophata

 Size & diagnostic markings:- 17 Cm. This is a Flycatcher looking bright blue color bird. Bright blue on the head and nape right down to the breast. Wings grey with a strong tinge of blue as well. The under part is white belly to the vent. Narrow black band across the blue upper breast. There is a prominent black nuchal tuft. The female in much duller shades of blue and no black dot on the head.

 Distribution :-  The origin of the Black-naped Monarch was traced to the Indian sub-continent, south China, the Sunda Islands. The one in Malaysia a sub-species
 Habitats & preferences:- This is a lowland deep forest bird. Need not be dense jungle but must be pristine. Seen some in open country bush land as well.
 In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:- Fairly common bird in most forests. The bird do not move in flock and had soft calls. Therefore only easy to spot when they are mating.  Seen them often in Rengit and Perdik or Chngkak.
 My personal jottings :-

Noticed that a lot of pictures showing the bird in their nest. In normal time, the bird is too small and in dark color not easy to make them out. They do not call that often to alert us of its presence. During nesting time, their flight pattern very consistent and their calls as well. So only natural that most of the pictures were taken then.


Record of bird's calls :-    and Videos  


Black-naped Monarch # 1 Black-naped Monarch # 2 Black-naped Monarch # 3
Black-naped Monarch # 4 Black-naped Monarch # 5 Black-naped Monarch # 6
Black-naped Monarch # 7 Black-naped Monarch # 8 Black-naped Monarch # 9
Black-naped Monarch # # 10 Black-naped Monarch # 11 Black-naped Monarch  # 12
Black-naped Monarch  # 16 Black-naped Monarch  # 17 Black-naped Monarch  # 18
Black-naped Monarch  # 19 Black-naped Monarch  # 20 Black-naped Monarch  # 21
Black-naped Monarch  # 22 Black-naped Monarch  # 23 Black-naped Monarch  # 24
Black-naped Monarch  # 25 Black-naped Monarch  # 26 Black-naped Monarch  # 27


The Black-naped Monarch is a common bird of the lowland forest. The fact that it is small though brightly colored is dark among the thick forest foliages. It moves about singly and missing it or treated as a fly past by Babbler is not surprisingly. Like Flycatchers, the bird do make soft sharp calls when it is in the area. So alert for the call and only  a matter of time, the bird would be seen momentarily in the open.

The bird was sighted in lots of places but in Rengit, the bird breeds prolifically and quite often seen.