Family Monarch-flycatchers (Monarchidae)

Least Concern

Shining Flycatcher (Myiagra alecto)


French: Monarque luisant German: Glanzmonarch Spanish: Monarca reluciente
Other common names: Common Shining Flycatcher

Drymophila alecto


, 1827,

“Celebes”; error = Ternate, Moluccas


Closely related to M. hebetior#R (see below). Subspecific taxonomy somewhat uncertain; plumage differences among races are small, and further research on genetics and vocalizations needed. Race melvillensis known to intergrade with wardelli on Cape York Peninsula and may not be tenable. Birds from S New Guinea described as race novaeguineensis, but now considered indistinguishable from chalybeocephala. Eight subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. a. alecto (Temminck, 1827) – Morotai, Halmahera, Ternate, Tidore, Mare, Muor, Moti, Bacan, Damar, Kasiruta and Obi.
  • M. a. chalybeocephala (#R Lesson & Garnot, 1828) – West Papuan Is, W, SW & N New Guinea, Karkar I, Bagabag, and Bismarck Archipelago.
  • M. a. manumudari (Rothschild & E. J. O. Hartert, 1915) – Manam I (off NE New Guinea).
  • M. a. longirostris (Mathews, 1928) – Tanimbar Is.
  • M. a. rufolateralis (G. R. Gray, 1858) – Aru Is.
  • M. a. lucida G. R. Gray, 1858 – East Papuan Is (Trobriand Is, Woodlark I, D’Entrecasteaux Is and Louisiades).
  • M. a. wardelli (Mathews, 1911) – S New Guinea (Trans-Fly region) and NE Australia (S on NE Queensland coast to Fraser I).
  • M. a. melvillensis (Mathews, 1912) – N Australia from NW Western Australia (E from King Sound and coastal Kimberley) E to NE Arnhem Land and C Cape York Peninsula.
  • Descriptive notes

    17–19 cm; 20 g. Male nominate race has plumage entirely iridescent blue-black; iris dark brown; bill slaty-blue, sometimes small black tip, interior of mouth vivid... read more


    Very vocal, with extensive and varied repertoire. In Australia a monotonous, loud, ringing “... read more


    Swamp-forest, forest edges, mangroves, streamside vegetation, monsoon forest and coastal scrub,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Largely insectivorous; some fruit, small molluscs and crustaceans may be taken. Tends to keep to middle and low levels in dense vegetation... read more


    Breeds in Aug–Apr wet season in Australia, and similarly in New Guinea (where dates of rainy season vary with locality). Nest a deep... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common over much of range; a characteristic species of tropical streams and rivers.

    Recommended citation

    Gregory, P. (2017). Shining Flycatcher (Myiagra alecto). 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).