Family Monarch-flycatchers (Monarchidae)

Least Concern

African Paradise-flycatcher (Terpsiphone viridis)


French: Tchitrec d’Afrique German: Graubrust-Paradiesschnäpper Spanish: Monarca africano

Muscicapa viridis

Statius Müller

, 1776,



Sometimes treated as conspecific with T. rufocinerea, the two hybridizing in Gabon and Angola; genetic relationship between the two taxa unclear#R#R, and further research required. Also hybridizes with T. rufiventer. Proposed race violacea (Zambia, Malawi) included in plumbeiceps. Ten subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. v. viridis (Statius Müller, 1776) – extreme S Mauritania, Senegal and Gambia S to Sierra Leone.
  • T. v. ferreti (Guérin-Méneville, 1843) – Mali and Ivory Coast E to N Cameroon, S Chad, N Central African Republic, S Sudan, N Eritrea and Somalia, S to NE DRCongo, S Kenya and NE Tanzania.
  • T. v. harterti (R. Meinertzhagen, 1923) – extreme SW Saudi Arabia, W & E Yemen and S Oman.
  • T. v. speciosa (Cassin, 1859) – S Cameroon E to SW South Sudan, S to DRCongo (except NE, E & S) and NE Angola.
  • T. v. restricta (Salomonsen, 1933) – S Uganda.
  • T. v. kivuensis Salomonsen, 1949 – SW Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, E DRCongo (Kivu) and NW Tanzania.
  • T. v. suahelica Reichenow, 1898 – W Kenya and N Tanzania.
  • T. v. ungujaensis (C. H. B. Grant & Mackworth-Praed, 1947) – E Tanzania, including islands of Zanzibar, Mafia and Pemba.
  • T. v. plumbeiceps Reichenow, 1898 – Angola and N Namibia E to SW Tanzania, Mozambique and N South Africa; non-breeding also N to Cameroon, N Tanzania and SE Kenya.
  • T. v. granti (Roberts, 1948) – E & S South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal S to S Western Cape); non-breeding N to Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
  • Descriptive notes

    18 cm (excluding male’s elongated central rectrices, which project up to 10–18 cm beyond others); male 13·8 g, female 12·7 g (Kenya). Plumage... read more


    Male territorial song very varied, with both individual and geographical variation, typically a... read more


    Savanna woodland, park-like country, open forest and plantations, bushland, open woodland of any... read more

    Food and feeding

    Arthropods, mainly insects, also spiders (Araneae); also some small berries. Insects include eggs, larvae, nymphs and imagos of beetles (... read more


    Season May–Jul/Aug (during rains) in W Africa, probably all year in Cameroon; all year in Gabon (peak mid-Dec to mid-Feb, little... read more


    Arabian race harterti apparently resident; other races make some local movements (poorly... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon to common throughout range; locally abundant. Widespread. Densities 15·5–17·9 pairs/km² in NE Gabon, and 21 pairs/... read more

    Recommended citation

    Moeliker, K. (2019). African Paradise-flycatcher (Terpsiphone viridis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 21 April 2019).