Black-faced Monarch

Did you know?

Like other monarchs and flycatchers, the Black-faced Monarch has bristles around its bill to help it catch insects.

Clear whistled 'why-you-whichye-oo'; also creaks, chatters and scolds.
Facts and Figures
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Breeding season: 
October to January
Clutch Size: 
2 to 3 eggs
Conservation Status
Basic Information
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What does it look like?

The Black-faced Monarch has a distinctive black face that does not extend across the eyes, grey upperparts, wings and upper breast, contrasting with a rufous (red-orange) belly. The dark eye has a thin black eye ring and a lighter area of pale grey around it. The blue-grey bill has a hooked tip. Young birds are similar but lack the black face, have a black bill and tend to have a brownish body and wings. The Black-faced Monarch is one of the monarch flycatchers, a forest and woodland-dwelling group of small insect-eating birds, and is strictly arboreal (found in trees).

Similar species: 

The Black-faced Monarch resembles the Black-winged Monarch, M. frater, but this species is paler grey and has mostly black wings and and a black tail, and is restricted to far northern Queensland, being a summer breeding migrant from New Guinea. The Spectacled Monarch,M. trivirgatus, has a black face mask that extends across the eyes, has a white lower belly and has a black tail with white tips and undertail.

Where does it live?

The Black-faced Monarch is found along the coast of eastern Australia, becoming less common further south.


The Black-faced Monarch is found in rainforests, eucalypt woodlands, coastal scrub and damp gullies. It may be found in more open woodland when migrating.

Seasonal movements: 

Resident in the north of its range, but is a summer breeding migrant to coastal south-eastern Australia, arriving in September and returning northwards in March. It may also migrate to Papua New Guinea in autumn and winter.

What does it do?

The Black-faced Monarch forages for insects among foliage, or catches flying insects on the wing.


The Black-faced Monarch builds a deep cup nest of casuarina needles, bark, roots, moss and spider web in the fork of a tree, about 3 m to 6 m above the ground. Only the female builds the nest, but both sexes incubate the eggs and feed the young.

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