Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Blue Rock-thrush (Monticola solitarius)


French: Monticole bleu German: Blaumerle Spanish: Roquero solitario

[Turdus] solitarius


, 1758,



Separation of races generally difficult; characters tend to intergrade, suggesting that most, if not all, variation is clinal, perhaps including from longirostris through pandoo to philippensis. Race philippensis highly distinctive in plumage and to some extent apparently also in ecology, but intergradation extensive, vocalizations very similar#R and molecular evidence#R contradicts a break between this form and the other taxa, identifying instead one clade for nominate and longirostris and another for pandoo and philippensis (presumably with madoci). Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. s. solitarius (Linnaeus, 1758) – Western Blue Rock-thrush – NW Africa, S Europe (E to Italy and N Balkans), N Turkey, Caucasus and Transcaucasia; non-breeding also N Africa and Arabia.
  • M. s. longirostris (Blyth, 1847) – Greece, W & S Turkey and Levant E to Tien Shan, Afghanistan and NW Himalayas (N Pakistan and Kashmir); non-breeding also Arabia, NE Africa E to NW India.
  • M. s. pandoo (Sykes, 1832) – C Himalayas, S, C & E China (including Hainan) and N Vietnam; non-breeding S & SE Asia S to Greater Sundas.
  • M. s. philippensis (Statius Müller, 1776) – Eastern Blue Rock-thrush – E Mongolia, NE China, Korea, Sakhalin, S Kuril Is, Japan, Ryukyu Is, coastal Taiwan and N Philippines (Batanes Is); non-breeding SE China (including Hainan and Taiwan), SE Asia and Philippines S to Sundas, Moluccas and Palau.
  • M. s. madoci Chasen, 1940 – extreme S Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia and N Sumatra.
  • Descriptive notes

    20–23 cm; 37–70 g. Male nominate race is deep blue, darker and browner on wings and tail. Female variable, usually much duller above, generally blue-grey, often... read more


    Song (by both sexes, chiefly by male) melodious and rich, a short series of individually varied... read more


    Breeds on precipitous cliffs, in steep rocky valleys and defiles, ravines and gorges, on crags,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Invertebrates, small vertebrates, and fruit. Mainly insects, including grasshoppers, locusts, crickets, mole-crickets, adult and larval... read more


    Mar–Jul in NW Africa, end Apr to mid-Jul in Iberia and end Feb to mid-Jun in Israel; Jun–Jul in Afghanistan, Apr–Jul in... read more


    Sedentary, partial migrant, altitudinal migrant and intercontinental migrant; nocturnal migrant,... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Total population in Europe in mid-1990s estimated at 40,675–61,602 pairs, with additional 5000–50,000 pairs in Turkey. By 2000 total... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. (2020). Blue Rock-thrush (Monticola solitarius). 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 25 February 2020).