Family Monarch-flycatchers (Monarchidae)

Near Threatened

Japanese Paradise-flycatcher (Terpsiphone atrocaudata)


French: Tchitrec du Japon German: Japanparadiesschnäpper Spanish: Monarca japonés

Muscipeta atrocaudata


, 1839,

Peninsular Malaysia


Hybridizes with T. incei, but interbreeding very limited as ranges barely overlap; further study needed. Each race differs somewhat from others in morphology (illex smaller and darker, periophthalmica with dark undertail-coverts and much more restricted white on belly in male) and in voice (illex with slightly different vocabulary, periophthalmica with lower pitch owing to lack of upslurs in calls, but both with small sample sizes)#R; there is therefore a fairly strong possibility of each meriting species rank, but more research needed. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. a. atrocaudata (Eyton, 1839) – Japanese Paradise-flycatcher – C & S Korea and C & S Japan; non-breeding SE Asia and Sumatra.
  • T. a. illex Bangs, 1901 – Ryukyu Paradise-flycatcher – Ryukyu Is; non-breeding presumably SE Asia.
  • T. a. periophthalmica (Ogilvie-Grant, 1895) – Lanyu Paradise-flycatcher – Lanyu I (off SE Taiwan) and Batan Is (extreme N Philippines); non-breeding N & W Philippines (Luzon, Mindoro, Palawan).
  • Descriptive notes

    Male 18·5–20 cm (excluding elongated central rectrices, which project up to 25 cm beyond others), female 17–18 cm; 18·7 g. A dark paradise-... read more


    Song (in Japan) a whistled “tshuki-hi-hoshi hoi hoi hoi”. Call a querulous “jouey... read more


    Shady mature deciduous or mixed forest and plantations on low hills and mountains, up to 1000 m,... read more

    Food and feeding

    InsectsMale with prey. No further data; probably much as for T. paradisi.


    Season late May to Aug in Japan; Mar–Aug, with nests and eggs found late Mar to late Jun, on Batan. Nest cup-shaped, placed 1·... read more


    Apparently resident on Taiwan; status of Lanyu I population unclear, but probably migratory; other... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Steep decline recorded in part of breeding population in Japan (nominate race), believed to be probably a... read more

    Recommended citation

    Moeliker, K. (2017). Japanese Paradise-flycatcher (Terpsiphone atrocaudata). 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 20 November 2017).