Black-faced Monarch

Black-Faced Monarch perched on a very thin branch of a moss-covered tree

What does it look and sound like? This beautiful bird, with blue-grey head, throat and upperparts, black face and russet underparts, is perhaps the most familiar of the monarchs. It is similar in colouration to both the Spectacled and Black-winged Monarchs. It’s call is a distinctive “why-you-which-yew”.

Where does it live? It is found along the eastern coast, south to Melbourne, while the White-faced Monarch occurs north of the Queensland-New South Wales border, and the Spectacled Monarch occurs north of the New South Wales-Victoria Border. The rare Black-winged Monarch is only found in the northern Cape York region as a summer breeding migrant from New Guinea.

What are its habitats and habits? The Black-faced Monarch inhabits rainforests and wet forests. It 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.

Interesting fact: 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 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.

Scientific name: Monarcha melanopsis

Size: 16 to 19 cm

Do you want to know the best places to go to see this species? Check out our book “Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots” – available for purchase through our secure online store