Family Monarch-flycatchers (Monarchidae)


Rarotonga Monarch (Pomarea dimidiata)


French: Monarque de Rarotonga German: Rarotongamonarch Spanish: Monarca de Rarotonga

Monarches dimidiatus

Hartlaub and Finsch

, 1871,

Rarotonga, Cook Islands


Distinctive orange plumage, previously thought to be that of female, recently found to be immature plumage of both sexes, full adult dress being acquired over four years#R. Monotypic.


Rarotonga, in Cook Is.

Introduced on Atiu I (200 km NE of Rarotonga).

Descriptive notes

14–15 cm; 22 g. Plumage is dark slate-grey above, with whitish lores, white below; tail blackish, with greyish underside; iris dark; bill plumbeous blue, legs dark... read more


Raucous, chattering, rapid, rasping and discordant rather metallic 4-syllable “ter whik whik... read more


Undergrowth of native forest. Prefers small, steep-sided, wet, forested valleys sheltered from the... read more

Food and feeding

Feeds mainly on small caterpillars, flies (Diptera), beetles (Coleoptera) and bugs (Hemiptera). Gleans from leaves and twigs; can be bold... read more


Breeds Oct–Feb, but most eggs laid Oct and early Nov. Some immatures join adults as helpers to defend territory and help to raise... read more


Sedentary; immatures may gather in small loose flocks on ridgetops away from occupied territories. read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Restricted-range species: present in Southern Cook Islands EBA. Once among the rarest birds of the world, this species has been brought back from the brink of... read more

Recommended citation

Gregory, P. & Sharpe, C.J. (2017). Rarotonga Monarch (Pomarea dimidiata). 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 24 November 2017).