Family Monarch-flycatchers (Monarchidae)

Least Concern

Red-bellied Paradise-flycatcher (Terpsiphone rufiventer)


French: Tchitrec à ventre roux German: Senegalparadiesschnäpper Spanish: Monarca ventrirrojo
Other common names: Black-headed Paradise-Flycatcher

Muscipeta rufiventer


, 1837,



Relationships within genus uncertain#R#R. Often considered conspecific with T. bedfordi, but see that species (below). Has hybridized with T. batesi and T. viridis. In one recent study#R, form nigriceps was found to be sister to a clade formed by other races of present species along with T. viridis, T. rufocinerea, T. batesi and T. bedfordi; suggestion that nigriceps may represent a separate species merits further investigation. Race smithii often considered a separate species, but its characters combine those of races neumanni and nigriceps; neumanni and tricolor notably distinctive for their slaty-grey upperparts and tails. Races intergrade. Eleven subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. r. rufiventer (Swainson, 1837) – Red-bellied Paradise-flycatcher – Senegal, Gambia and W Guinea.
  • T. r. nigriceps (Hartlaub, 1855) – Sierra Leone and Guinea (except W) E to Togo and SW Benin.
  • T. r. fagani (Bannerman, 1921) – Benin and SW Nigeria.
  • T. r. schubotzi (Reichenow, 1911) – SE Cameroon, SW Central African Republic and NE Congo.
  • T. r. mayombe (Chapin, 1932) – S Congo and W DRCongo.
  • T. r. ignea (Reichenow, 1901) – SE Central African Republic and DRCongo S to NE Angola and NW Zambia.
  • T. r. somereni Chapin, 1948 – W & S Uganda.
  • T. r. emini Reichenow, 1893 – SE Uganda, W Kenya and extreme NW Tanzania.
  • T. r. neumanni Stresemann, 1924 – SE Nigeria, Cameroon (except SE) and Gabon S to NW Angola (Cabinda).
  • T. r. tricolor (Fraser, 1843) – Tricolored Paradise-flycatcher – Bioko.
  • T. r. smithii (Fraser, 1843) – Annobon Paradise-flycatcher – Annobón I.
  • Descriptive notes

    Male 18–21 cm (male 30–32 cm including central tail feathers, but variable); 16·5 g. Male nominate race is mainly orange-rufous; head black, glossed steel-blue,... read more


    Song, given by both sexes, is a short, cheerful “twee-twee-twee-twee-twee-twee-twee”; also has a... read more


    Primary and secondary lowland and montane forest, forest-grassland mosaic, coastal scrub, farmbush... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mostly insects, especially moths (Lepidoptera), grasshoppers (Orthoptera), beetles (Coleoptera), bugs (Hemiptera, including cicadids),... read more


    Season May–Jul in Gambia, Mar, May and Jun in Liberia, Feb–Sept in Ivory Coast, Feb in Togo, Apr, Jul and Nov in Nigeria, Dec... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon to abundant throughout range. Locally common near coast in Gambia, becoming uncommon inland; common from coast to N highlands in Liberia;... read more

    Recommended citation

    Moeliker, K. (2020). Red-bellied Paradise-flycatcher (Terpsiphone rufiventer). 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 31 March 2020).