Family Monarch-flycatchers (Monarchidae)

Least Concern

Black-naped Monarch (Hypothymis azurea)


French: Tchitrec azuré German: Schwarznackenmonarch Spanish: Monarca nuquinegro

Muscicapa azurea


, 1783,

Manila, Luzon, Philippines


Until recently considered conspecific with H. puella (see below). Races aeria and abbotti distinctive owing to their lack of a black nuchal patch, latter also virtually lacking the black breastbar, thus both tending to resemble H. puella#R; retained as races of present species#R, but research needed to determine whether one or both may be better treated as separate species. On W Sumatran islands, at least consobrina and abbotti said to have unique, highly distinctive vocalizations, abbotti in addition being much larger than all other races, these two possibly warranting treatment as one or two separate species#R; further study needed. Race catarmanensis previously grouped with H. puella, but it belongs with present species; it is, however, distinctive in that females have mainly masculine plumage characters#R (in an echo of Loriculus philippensis camiguinensis from the same island). Forms penidae and javana sometimes included in symmixta#R. Twenty-three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • H. a. styani (Hartlaub, 1899) – #Rmuch of India (except N & NW) and Nepal E to SE China and Vietnam.
  • H. a. oberholseri Stresemann, 1913 – Taiwan.
  • H. a. ceylonensis Sharpe, 1879 – Sri Lanka.
  • H. a. tytleri (Beavan, 1867) – Coco Is (off Myanmar) and Andaman Is.
  • H. a. idiochroa Oberholser, 1911 – Car Nicobar I.
  • H. a. nicobarica Bianchi, 1907 – S Nicobar Is.
  • H. a. montana Riley, 1929 – N & C Thailand.
  • H. a. galerita (Deignan, 1956) – SW & SE Thailand.
  • H. a. forrestia Oberholser, 1911 – Mergui Archipelago, off W Myanmar.
  • H. a. prophata Oberholser, 1911 – S Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo.
  • H. a. consobrina Richmond, 1902 – Simeulue I, off NW Sumatra.
  • H. a. abbotti Richmond, 1902 – Lasia and Babi (SE of Simeulue).
  • H. a. leucophila Oberholser, 1911 – Siberut I (off W Sumatra).
  • H. a. richmondi Oberholser, 1911 – Enggano I (off SW Sumatra).
  • H. a. opisthocyanea Oberholser, 1911 – Anamba Is (S China Sea).
  • H. a. gigantoptera Oberholser, 1911 – Bunguran, in Natuna Is (S China Sea).
  • H. a. karimatensis Chasen & Kloss, 1932 – Karimata I (off W Borneo).
  • H. a. javana Chasen & Kloss, 1929 – Java and Bali.
  • H. a. penidae Meise, 1941 – Nusa Penida I (off SE Bali).
  • H. a. symmixta Stresemann, 1913 – W & C Lesser Sundas.
  • H. a. azurea (Boddaert, 1783) – Philippines (except Camiguin Sur).
  • H. a. catarmanensis Rand & Rabor, 1969 – Camiguin Sur (off Mindanao), in S Philippines.
  • H. a. aeria Bangs & J. L. Peters, 1927 – Maratua I (off E Borneo).
  • Descriptive notes

    15–17 cm; 8·9–13·4 g. Male nominate race has predominantly azure-blue plumage, somewhat darker on back, with black feathering at base of bill, black... read more


    Song a monotonous, clear ringing “wii-wii-wii-wii-wii-wii”, c. 3 notes per second;... read more


    Broadleaf evergreen forest, semi-evergreen forest, deciduous forest and peatswamp-forest; well-... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, including small butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera) and grasshoppers (Orthoptera), also small beetles (Coleoptera) and bugs (... read more


    Mar–Sept in India, Mar–Aug in SE Asia, late Apr to late Jul in Taiwan, and Apr–Jun and Sept in Philippines; Jun, also... read more


    Resident in most of range, subject to relatively local movements. More widespread in winter in... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally widespread and common throughout its range. Occurs in numerous national parks and other protected areas.

    Recommended citation

    Moeliker, K. (2017). Black-naped Monarch (Hypothymis azurea). 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 22 November 2017).