Black-faced Monarch

This beautiful bird, with blue-grey head, throat and upperparts, black face and russet underparts, is perhaps the most familiar of the monarchs.  Within Australia there are two distinct groups of monarchs.  The first, which contains the Black-faced Monarch, consists of three similarly coloured species and one species, the White-eared Monarch, which is black and white. The Rare Black-winged Monarch is only found in the northern Cape York region as a summer breeding migrant from New Guinea.  The other three species are found along the eastern coast, the White-faced Monarch reaching south to The Queensland-New South Wales border, while the Spectacled Monarch occurs to the New South Wales-Victoria Border and the Black-faced Monarch occurs through to Melbourne.  The other monarch group are also black and white in plumage, but have fleshy blue rings of skin around the eye.  There are two members of this second group, and both inhabit rainforests in restricted areas of Northern Queensland.  The Black-faced Monarch inhabits rainforest and wet forests, where its presence is announced by its distinctive “why-you-which-yew” call.

The Black-faced Monarch is a highly migratory species.  Most birds winter in northern Queensland and New Guinea, and return to the southern breeding areas in August and September.  Some individuals, however, remain in the same area for the entire year.

Size: 16 to 19 cm